Human trafficking is a growing problem all across the country, and South Carolinas’ attorney general wants your help to stop it.
“If someone is driving down the road with the road with a car full of cocaine; it’s much difficult to hide that than a car with two young girls,” said the director of Violence Against Women Act and Human Trafficking Programs, Kathryn Moorehead.
South Carolina’s attorney general is recruiting volunteers from several counties for a task force designed to help stop human trafficking in the Palmetto State.
The group met Tuesday for the first time at the Cumbee Center in Aiken.
The representative with the attorney general’s office says law enforcement is only one part of the solution.
“We need support on the community level,” explained Moorehead. we need a regional task force who can get out there and share the information. “As well as educating people to help prevent the crime and victims.”
Volunteers from six local counties make up the task force. Moorehead says girls age 12-to-18 are most at risk of becoming victims.
She says it’s important for South Carolina because large events like “Bike Week” in Myrtle Beach and The Masters attract human traffickers.
“It’s going to draw people with disposable income who are wanting to engage in purchasing of trafficking individuals,” said Moorehead.
The director of VAWA says some of the critical warning signs of potential human trafficking include someone watching in a van while kids are selling items or stalkers on college campuses.
“Those who are starting college are losing whatever support network they may have,” said Moorehead. “They want to make friends, and they want to go to parties. The may find themselves in situations that traffickers have set up. so they can take advantage of them.”
Now that the task force has been formed the next step is to get the volunteers from each county more aware of the problem, then place them across the region to help fight human trafficking.
There will be another meeting in November.
There is a number you can call if you or someone you know is a human trafficking victim.
It is 1-800-373-7888, or you can text 233-733.
The national hotline’s website shows nearly 2,000 phone calls have been made in South Carolina since 2007. 453 of those became cases.
In Georgia, more than 4,000 calls have been made since 2007. More than 1,300 of those became cases.