For this week’s A Tale of Two Hygienists, Andrew and Michelle return to an older, disturbing, and very pressing topic: human trafficking, and specifically how the pandemic has created conditions for even worse abuse. They spoke with two previous guests who specialize in this vital subject.
Amber Riley is a dental hygienist based in San Diego, and for nearly two decades she has focused on forensic dentistry in addition to her clinical work. It’s through her forensic dentistry focus that she met Dr. Sakher Alqahtani, the head of pediatric dentistry at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia who developed a new forensic tool for estimating age from tooth development.
In this episode, our guests explain how quarantine has enabled abusers and traffickers, discuss how modern culture and media shape young people into targets for abusers, and suggest ways hygienists can help suspected victims.
Interview starts: 5:05
– Amber explains why her work in forensic dentistry has become the most fulfilling aspect of her career.
– Dr. Alqahtani explains his “atlas” used for estimating age based on tooth development.
– Breaking down why the pandemic and resulting quarantine has become a veritable “Black Friday” for human traffickers.
– Prevention: the act of identifying a potential victim before an offender does.
– How social media helps create an environment where younger people seek validation from strangers.
– Finding ways for young women to seek empowerment without feeling they have to exploit themselves.
– What is “grooming” in reference to sexual predation and trafficking?
– What can hygienists do to identify and protect potential victims in their offices?
“My participation in forensics has been the most rewarding adjunct to my career as a clinical hygienist.”
“Now [children] have an absolutely limitless audience of blank faces.”
“To normalize sexual prowess at 13 is problematic.”
“I feel like the bigger picture is that there is something very, very broken in our youngest people.”
“Let’s find that demographic before they become a victim.”
Amber’s email – [email protected]
Dr. Alqahtani on Twitter – https://twitter.com/sakheralqahtani
Human Trafficking/Child Abuse resources:
Atlas of Tooth Development and Eruption – https://www.qmul.ac.uk/dentistry/atlas/
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