NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA) -- It's often an unseen and unheard of problem, where tens of thousands of men and women get picked up, held captive and often sold.
One student is using her nursing degree to identify and help victims of human trafficking.
"We don't want it to be a hidden issue anymore, we want to help bring it to light, help stop it," nursing student Janet Wagner said.
Wagner is a senior at the University of Arkansas. Her passion lies in helping people, that's why she chose a career in nursing.
And that's what led her to an internship at the Hub of Hope.
Hub of Hope provides services for victims of human trafficking and educates the public on the nature of these crimes.
"Just as a nurse allow my eyes and ears and my education to help identify these victims when they do come in, and hopefully not just be able identify them but help encourage the facility I'm in to take an active role in saying this is what we're going to do when we see these victims," Wagner said.
Jenny Sorey, the founder and executive director of Hub of Hope, says the average age of entry into forced prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.
But she's seen them as young as 3-years-old.
"We get many phone calls and that's what we base the prevalence on. We see it very very often," Sorey said. "Every 2 weeks we're talking to survivors about 5 to 10 of them."
But right now the Hub of Hope has no place to call home or house victims that are in need of basic necessities.
"What we're trying to do is create a crisis center, a 72 hour crisis center. When we're working with a survivor, we'll be able to bring that survivor in, let them take a shower have a hot meal. Let them have a place to rest," Sorey said.
And to continue to allow interns like Janet to find solutions to a hidden problem.
"The hope is we can reach the hospitals, the staff at the medical facilities, so that they can see the issue and can start to pull the people out and help identify them," Wagner said.
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