AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Texas is among the top ten states for sex trafficking in the U.S., that’s according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Their upcoming “They’re Not For Sale: Human Sex Trafficking Symposium” is working to expand area resources for victims.

The event focuses on giving providers more tools to treat trafficking victims.

“I was shocked it’s as prevalent as it is,” said Angela Knapp Eggers, Senior Director of the Laura W. Bush Institute For Women’s Health.

“They’re not for sale, it doesn’t feel like that’s, those are words that we should even have to mutter in this day,” she said.

With two highways passing through it, Amarillo’s a prime target for traffickers.

“We have to realize that there’s a large percentage of trafficking victims that actually come to the doctor,” said Rachel Anderson, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. “They go to the ER (emergency room), they go to the dentist, they go and get physical therapy, things like that, that we wouldn’t think would be available, and so it’s that those providers that can actually open up their eyes to see hey, something else is going on here.”

Dr. Anderson says the best defense is education, and using it to build trust with victims.

“The biggest thing that we can do is become more trauma informed ourselves, we need to be able to, to be with these patients in their suffering, and where they’re at, because a lot of them don’t even realize they’re being trafficked. So being compassionate, believing them, can go a long way. And it actually helps with healing, to have somebody that’s, you know, in a position of power, believe you, it makes a huge difference,” she explained.

The symposium will cover a variety of trafficking topics, including survivor support, and trafficking signs to look for.

“If a patient’s coming in with a really domineering adult, it could be anybody. If they don’t really know where they’re at, they don’t have insurance, things like that, and then specific things that they’re coming in for. They’re coming in for STD’s, unwanted pregnancies, trauma, that type of thing, but kind of in our everyday lives, we need to think about people that are around us that, you know, that kid is just not acting right. They’re acting out for some reason, like, we need to dig into that,” Dr. Anderson added.

Dr. Anderson told us that while some segments of the population like minorities and lower socioeconomic classes tend to be more affected, it can happen to anyone.

All of the work, to help make the community safer.

“That’s why we bring the experts to the table to try to help our providers understand what they’re dealing with, what might what might be available and resources and even in team members that are on their staff that know exactly what to do,” Eggers explained.

For more information on the symposium, including how to register, click here.