AUSTIN, TEXAS (FEBRURAY 7, 2019)… Child sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world, according to a study* by the UT School of Social Work. To make a difference, Austin Oral Surgery has created “Dove Projects,” which train dental professionals to recognize and report signs of child sex trafficking. To date, Austin Oral Surgery’s Dove Projects have brought awareness to over 1,475 dental professionals located throughout Central Texas.
“Our goal is to educate the dental community on the warning signs of child sex trafficking, one office at a time,” says Renee Dixon, marketing director at Austin Oral Surgery. “When you do an oral exam, there can be certain conditions inside the mouth that can indicate a victim, so dental professionals are in a unique position to make a big difference. It’s important that all dental professionals can recognize those factors quickly, particularly if several indicators are present. They also need to know how to help without making the situation more dangerous for the victim.”
Austin Oral Surgery hosts Dove Projects throughout the year. They are free, private events that are designed to reach the entire dental community, regardless of city, office affiliation or other differentiators. Dixon says it doesn’t matter who they work for or where, what matters is the opportunity to save even one of the 79,000* young people who are being sex-trafficked in state of Texas.
The program features free refreshments, a list of indicators to look for, a hotline to call if someone suspects they have found a victim and a speaker from The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). The Refuge for DMST is a non-profit, therapeutic, residential community and foster-placement agency for girls ages 11 through 19, who have been rescued from sex traffickers.
Dove Projects also include free craft materials, so that participants can make “dove tiles” for recovering victims. “It’s a fun and creative activity; and The Refuge for DMST displays the finished doves in the girls’ cottages as a sign of hope and healing, so they’ll know they were thought about long before they arrived at the ranch,” says Dixon.
Dental professionals who wish to schedule a Dove Project can contact Dixon at 512-498-0118 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about what Austin Oral Surgery is doing to make a difference visit www.bethe1educate1save1.com.
“Austin Oral Surgery has single-handedly educated the dental community on the warning signs of child sex trafficking, teaching thousands of professionals what to watch for to keep children safe,” says Steven “Flyer” Phenix, director of PR and communications for The Refuge for DMST. “To my knowledge, there’s not another program like this anywhere in the United States.”
Austin Oral Surgery has been serving the community for nearly 50 years. Doctors James Fricke and Sam Fason established Austin Oral Surgery with one goal in mind: to put patients first. Austin Oral Surgery continues that legacy of exceptional care today, treating patients with a wide variety of oral/maxillofacial needs from wisdom teeth removal and corrective jaw surgery to dental implants and more. The practice has grown to include 13 board-certified maxillofacial surgeons and 12 locations throughout Central Texas. For more information, visit www.austinoralsurgery.com.
*For the complete study, visit http://sites.utexas.edu/idvsa/files/2017/02/Human-Trafficking-by-the-Numbers-2016.pdf.