COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson on Friday released the annual Human Trafficking Report from 2019. That report shows two Lowcountry counties are considered some of the worst in terms of human trafficking.
Both Charleston County and Dorchester County are now in the top counties across the state affected by human trafficking.
According to the report, the number of human trafficking victims to come forward substantially increased last year.
In 2018, there were 188 victims of human trafficking victims, but in 2019, 678 victims said they were being labored, or sex trafficked.
The Attorney General said that human trafficking is still occurring in the same industries it previously had.
“Escort services, massage businesses, residence-based commercial sex, outdoor solicitation, pornography who’s doing the exploiting. A lot of times you’ll see it in an employer relationship, recruiter relationship. An intimate family member relationship. Possibly even an intimate partner relationship.”
AG Wilson said that human trafficking is still occurring in the same industries it previously has.
He says the state human trafficking task force is partnering with a number of agencies and industries to prevent this crime, including SLED, DSS, the State Trucking Association and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
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Officials say that I-95 and I-26 are used by traffickers to transport victims between two trafficking hubs — Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, NC.
The South Carolina Human Trafficking Hotline reports 156 cases of human trafficking in 2018.
It includes labor trafficking in the agriculture and farming, hospitality, domestic, retail and housekeeping industries.
There were also cases of sex trafficking in spas, hotels and motels.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says human trafficking is more common than you think.
“A lot of human trafficking involves people who know the victim that they are trafficking. It’s usually not a kidnapping situation. It’s being trafficked by a relative or a family friend or someone you know”
Out of the 156 cases of human trafficking reported in 2018, there were 107 cases of sex trafficking, 34 cases of labor trafficking, seven cases of labor and sex trafficking, and eight cases that did not specify the kind of trafficking involved.
South Carolina Attorney General Wilson says many victims pass through South Carolina on the interstate due to where it sits.
“The United States is the number one destination for human trafficking. South Carolina as a state sits between two of the top human trafficking hubs in the country… that is Charlotte and Atlanta.”
To read the full 2019 Human Trafficking Report, click here.