North Charleston detective, Attorney General push for changes to SC human trafficking laws

North Charleston detective, Attorney General push for changes to SC human trafficking laws

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Some call it modern-day slavery.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking in the United States is a $32 billion problem.

Says State Attorney General spokesman Mark Powell, trafficking is no longer an international issues as "multiple cases are being investigated in every section of the state."

Monday, North Charleston police arrested 25-year-old Daewon Warren, who's accused of using a 17-year-old girl to sell sex at an area motel.

A judge denied his bond Tuesday.

Just over a month before, February 1st, the North Charleston Police Department debuted an entire human trafficking unit, after city Detective Charlie Benton wrote a proposal requesting the team be added.

"When I was seeing different human trafficking cases here in the local area, I realized that there really needed to be somebody that was devoted specifically to that type of investigation."

Benton said it's not just resources, but laws, that have been a stumbling block for local agencies trying to pursue human trafficking cases.

"If something happens outside the jurisdiction of North Charleston, I can't make a charge for it," he said.

In December of 2012, the South Carolina legislature passed a full comprehensive law to fight human trafficking in South Carolina.  Even then, the new legislation did not allow the state Grand Jury to investigate human trafficking cases.  Despite local agencies gaining the power to prosecute, that power is still limited by city and county lines.

"I have yet to find a trafficker that stays within one one jurisdiction."

Wednesday, new legislation granting the Grand Jury to investigate passed second reading in the state Senate.

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