CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – According to a new report from the State Attorney General’s office, more than 250 people in South Carolina were likely victims of human trafficking in 2022.
That number is trending upward and Charleston has the second-highest rate of reported human trafficking cases statewide.
Lowcountry groups like the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center are working to bring attention to the problem in hopes of eventually eliminating it.
“Really learning some more, really understanding what this issue is, and that it does happen here, to children in our community,” is key, according to Beverly Hutchinson, Executive Director at Dee Norton.
In 2015 when Dee Norton started working to fight human trafficking with children, five victims were identified. Last year, they saw 31 victims. A substantial jump in less than a decade.
She said there are additional things we can do to fight the increasing statistic, like recognizing the signs of human trafficking and being on the lookout for red flags, especially within vulnerable groups.
The center says that runaways and kids who drop out of school are more likely to be trafficked.
Knowing who to contact for help is also important; that can be a local law enforcement agency or the Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.