Here are the top 5 counties for reported human trafficking cases to the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
- Horry County
- Charleston County
- Greenville County
- Richland County
- Anderson County
Wilson said that the top five counties don’t necessarily have the most human trafficking, but do have more resources to help identify and report human trafficking.
“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 news release said.
Ten defendants were charged with human trafficking in South Carolina state courts last year, Wilson said in Monday’s press conference.
In 2020, there were 139 reported cases of human trafficking — which is down from 156 in 2019.
Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach said that the number of child trafficking increased 178 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said experts continue to be worried about the economic effects from this virus that make people more susceptible to human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a horrible blight on this state,” Wilson said. “Every year, we are becoming better at identifying and dealing with this heinous crime…With your help, we will bring more and more human traffickers to justice.”
In 2020, FITSNews covered several stories of human trafficking in South Carolina, including:
- 48-Year-Old Midlands Man Known As ‘Lil B’ Charged With Human Trafficking In Federal Court
- The Thornblade Saga: Homeland Security Joins Inquiry Into ‘Human Trafficking’ Allegations
- SC Couple And 3 Others Federally Indicted On Child Pornography Production and Sex Trafficking Charges
- 66-Year-Old SC Man Bought Teen As A Sex Slave, Kept Her In A Dungeon, Feds Say
Wilson said that the goal of the task force is to bring more awareness and understanding to human trafficking and ultimately charge those committing these crimes. He said he is proud of the progress they have made since the group was first started eight years ago.
“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.
To report a human trafficking case, call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 (BeFree).
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