The Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition is a volunteer organization working collaboratively to increase awareness, identify causes, and support victims of trafficking. This meeting will be from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 22 at St. George Episcopal Church, 441 N. Business Route 5.

The Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition invites the community to a presentation by Dee Ballard, Lake Regional sexual response assault nurse June 22.

Ballard will outline how forensics nurses can focus on the needs of human trafficking victims without re-traumatizing them through procedures and treatment. Forensic nurses are a critical resource for anti-violence efforts. They collect evidence and give testimony that can be used in a court of law to apprehend or prosecute perpetrators who commit violent and abusive acts.

The emergency room is often the first place human trafficking victims are identified, but often they present a list of critical issues to first responders and care personnel. Dee Ballard has spearheaded Lake Regional’s the Sexual Response Assault Team (SART) to provide a holistic approach to treatment and evidentiary procedures. It provides victim-focused care, as well as gathering information for judicial proceedings.

Lake Regional’s SART team includes medical and law enforcement personnel, as well as professional advocates. Its SANEs work with specially trained detectives from the Camdenton, Lake Ozark, and Osage Beach police departments, the Camden County and Miller County sheriff’s departments and the Marine Division of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

When a human trafficking victim is identified at Lake Regional or Kids Harbor, a forensic nurse, trained detective and trained advocate all respond to the victim at Lake Regional or Kids Harbor. This allows the victim to receive multiple services at one place.

Recognizing the shock of human trafficking, and the devastation it can cause victims and their families, the SART team strives to ensure that victims are not re-traumatized by the evidentiary exam.

Team members work together to identify injuries resulting from sexual assault trauma, provide assessment, document injuries and use forensic techniques to collect evidence, while maintaining the chain of custody. They also provide expert witness testimony and referrals, and work to ensure the victim’s safety after discharge.

The Lake of the Ozarks Stop Human Trafficking Coalition is a volunteer organization working collaboratively to increase awareness, identify causes, and support victims of trafficking. This meeting will be from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 22 at St. George Episcopal Church, 441 N. Business Route 5.