CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the first human trafficking convictions in South Carolina.
Wilson said Colin Hernandez Mendez and Denicia Alfaro Lleydi were both convicted on Monday on one count of trafficking in persons and were sentenced to 12 years in prison.
According to authorities, between January 2013 and April 2013, Mendez and Lleydi knowingly held a victim against their will for the purpose of sex trafficking.
"While this may be the first human trafficking conviction in South Carolina, it will likely not be the last," Attorney General Wilson said. "Thanks to the hard work of Assistant Attorneys General Kinli Abee and Marie Sazehn, we were able to secure the first Human Trafficking convictions in South Carolina."
Wilson continued, "Unfortunately, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Convictions like these point to the sad reality that human trafficking is happening in our state. Combatting this scourge requires citizens reporting such crimes and the continued efforts by law enforcement and prosecutors like Kinli and Marie."
A press release states in 2012, the Attorney General's office championed the state's first Human Trafficking bill, which the General Assembly passed unanimously. In 2015, the General Assembly amended the law to give the State Grand Jury the power to investigate human trafficking cases.
Monday's convictions are the first under the 2012 law.
If you suspect you have seen human trafficking or have seen something suspicious, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-866-347-7888.