S.C. 2018 Human Trafficking Report

Still growing problem in Palmetto State

Patrick Gentry
January 11, 2019 - 3:20 pm

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says the growing problem of human trafficking means his office needs to put more resources in to fighting it. 

Wilson released his Human Trafficking Task Force's report for 2018 on Friday.

It shows prosecutors closed 64 human trafficking cases in 2018 with about half of them being forwarded to federal law enforcement. The report says almost all the rest ended in guilty pleas in state court.

The task force's chief goal in 2019 is to implement a new data collection system that Wilson says will finally give his office the full scope of the problem in South Carolina.

Last year, the State Task Force used VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant funds to put billboards in the Aiken, Florence, and Orangeburg areas to increase tip reporting to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and to educate victims about how they can get help and escape a trafficking situation. Those billboards have been viewed approximately six million times. In 2019, the Task Force will continue to post billboards and begin distributing a human trafficking awareness brochure and posters.

Some posters will be specifically designed for schools and organizations that serve young people. Last year, the Task Force held a one-day Human Trafficking Youth Advocacy Summit for high school students from across the state. There were 150 attendees. It was the first step in developing a network of youth around the state who can educate their peers and potentially prevent others from becoming victims.

“Young people are often targeted by traffickers,” said the Attorney General’s Task Force Coordinator Kathryn Moorehead. “We want to help better educate young people to ensure they are more capable of protecting themselves from these predators. It’s a serious crime that needs to be addressed in an age appropriate manner in our schools and youth serving agencies.”

Wilson says human trafficking for sex is especially bad in tourist areas. He says the victims of traffickers are often poor people in rural areas.

Click/tap here for more on the report.


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