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Investigators deploy new tools to fight, track human trafficking in SC

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 6:30 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s Human Trafficking Task Force is holding its quarterly meeting Friday to discuss the next steps in how its members strategically respond to incidents of human trafficking in the state.

This year, the task force is expected to receive its first round of funding from the General Assembly in the state budget, task force Director Kathryn Moorehead said.

Moorehead said they’re excited to put their strategic response model into effect. The plan includes developing a comprehensive data collection system that will help keep track of what type of human trafficking is happening and in which areas of the state.

In Charleston, they will continue to train law enforcement and health care workers on how they can best recognize human trafficking victims. Training will also include providing education in schools.

Moorehead says there is involvement from all angles here in the Lowcountry — from law enforcement and healthcare — to the solicitor’s office and children’s advocacy centers.

Between the beginning of January and the end of November of last year, 236 children were victims of human trafficking in South Carolina, 56 of which were in the Lowcountry. The most common types of trafficking were sex-related, at 93 percent. When it comes to all trafficking, 87 percent of the victims were female.

“By developing a comprehensive data collection system, and onboarding staff to maintain data research we are going to have a much more targeted understanding of what’s happening in different areas of the state,” Moorehead said.

The Senate and the House have approved the budget that will allocate this funding, and the last step is for Gov, McMaster to sign off on it.

If approved, the task force is expected to receive $1.7 million.

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