Charleston County ranks 2nd in state for calls to human trafficking hotline

VIDEO: Charleston County ranks 2nd in state for calls to national human trafficking hotline

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/WYFF) - South Carolina’s attorney general released an annual report that placed Charleston County near the top in the number of calls to a National Human Trafficking hotline.

The report says Horry County has the most calls for the second year in a row, according to Attorney General Alan Wilson. Charleston County has the second-highest number. Greenville, Richland and Anderson Counties rounded out the top five.

Dorchester County dropped out of the top five in the 2020 rankings.

But Wilson said the rankings do not necessarily indicate the counties with the higest number of actual human trafficking cases. Counties with active regional human trafficking task forces have raised awareness about the crime and how to report it, so being one of the top counties could be because it’s reported more, not because it’s happening there more.

“The State Task Force continues its efforts, in collaboration with regional task forces across the state, to raise awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number so victims can reach out for help and community members can report suspected incidents,” Wilson said. “We thank members across the state for their determination and hard work in combating this heinous crime.”

Wilson said there were 139 cases of human trafficking reported in the state with 179 reported victims.

The top five places where sex trafficking takes place, the report states, are:

  • Illicit massage parlors and spas
  • Hotels and motels
  • Brothels or houses of prostitution
  • Pornography stores or houses
  • Escort and delivery services.

“Human trafficking is a horrible, horrible blight on this state,” Wilson said. “Every year, we’re becoming better at identifying and dealing with this heinous crime.”

In the meantime, Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach said the pandemic made sex crimes against children even worse.

First Lady of South Carolina Peggy McMaster shared the Governor’s Proclamation declaring January Human Trafficking Awareness Month in South Carolina. She thanked the public for their continued efforts to spread awareness and remains committed to helping raise awareness about the crime while encouraging more people to get involved in the anti-human trafficking movement.

If you suspect a case of human sex trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.