CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston and Dorchester are among the top five counties for reported human trafficking in the state, according to a newly released report by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
The Human Trafficking Task Force 2019 Annual report cited Dorchester and Charleston counties as number 4 and number 5 respectively for reports of human trafficking with Horry County placing at the top of the list.
According to officials, there was a 360% increase in the total number of trafficking victims recorded in the state as well as an increase in the number of human trafficking cases reported.
“The large increase in victims recorded speaks to efforts across the state to raise awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number so victims know how to reach out for help,” said Attorney General Wilson. “We also recognize that the regional task forces are better educating members of their communities on the issue, which in turn causes shifts in the top five counties each year.”
Officials say since 2007 there have been 2,524 contacts to the national human trafficking line in South Carolina. In 2018, the hotline was contacted 434 times.
Authorities said some of the red flags of human trafficking include someone showing poor physical and mental health, lack of control and poor working conditions.
Officials say thanks to the hotline, they have identified 102 human traffickers in 2018 in South Carolina.
The Human Trafficking National Hotline number is 1-888-373-7888.
The Attorney General’s Office released the following additional information:
In addition to presenting new data, Attorney General Wilson announced new partnerships with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA) and the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association (SCBWA). The goal of these partnerships is to increase awareness of human trafficking within the hospitality and beer wholesale industries and to train the industries to respond to potential incidents of human trafficking. For example, the SCBWA has put signs on the backs of their delivery trucks that show the Human Trafficking National Hotline, so as those trucks drive around the state to make deliveries, drivers will see the number. That number is 1-888-373-7888.
First Lady of South Carolina Peggy McMaster spoke on the importance of introducing human trafficking prevention education in schools in order to protect South Carolina’s children from falling victim to human trafficking. The First Lady encouraged communities across the state to consider introducing human trafficking prevention education in their schools, churches, and other youth-serving programs.