CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston International Airport (CHS) is partnering with advocacy groups to help put an end to human trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign, which the airport is launching in partnership with the Tri-County Human Trafficking Taskforce, will highlight “the dangers of human trafficking in the travel and tourism industry,” according to a press release.
“It’s happening in your backyard, it’s happening in your neighborhood,” said Lauren Knapp, founder and co-chair of the Tri-County Human Trafficking Taskforce.
Leaders of the taskforce said there are misconceptions about what human trafficking looks like in South Carolina, and that it can be especially prevalent in the hospitality industry.
“Partnering with the airport was a way to not only make our own residents aware of the issue, but also educate them on what human trafficking is not, so they can see the signs and indicators early,” Knapp said.
Signs “encouraging victims to reach out if they are not safe” will be placed throughout the airport as well as in airport restrooms. The signs will be posted in multiple languages and will include the number to call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
There will also be digital signs with educational messages and statistics on human trafficking encouraging travelers to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SCTheSigns.
CHS cited data which estimates over 20 million people are trafficked annually. Of those that arrive in the United States, 71% come via plane.
Elliott Summey, CHS CEO and Executive Director, said that CHS is “committed to doing our part in stopping human trafficking and ensuring that traffickers face justice for the crimes against their victims.”
In addition to connecting directly with possible victims, the airport hopes the campaign will encourage fellow travelers to be on the lookout for suspicious situations.