South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson released the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force’s 2020 Annual Report on Monday, January 11th at the Statehouse. It showed a change in the top five counties reporting the crime.
The report details the efforts of the State Task Force to combat human trafficking. Member efforts continue to assist victims, prosecute traffickers, and prevent human trafficking from happening in our state. Attorney General Wilson welcomed leadership from state agencies, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and the State Legislature to share in the report’s release.
Attorney General Wilson reported the top five counties for reported human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Number one for human trafficking reports in South Carolina is Horry County for the second year. The remaining counties, in order, included Charleston, Greenville, Richland, and Anderson County. Dorchester dropped out of the top five in this year’s report. Being in the top five doesn’t necessarily mean those counties have the most human trafficking, Attorney General Wilson says. 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.
There were 139 cases of human trafficking reported in this year’s annual report. AG Wilson also reported 179 victim cases through the hotline alone.
“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,” said Attorney General Wilson. “We thank members across the state for their determination and hard work in combatting this heinous crime.”
Attorney General Wilson also announced new partnerships with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. Both agencies will be represented on a new State Task Force Advisory Council that was launched in 2020. Additionally, Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach spoke to his department’s efforts to respond to minor victims of both sex and labor trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also shared efforts to further educate DSS staff across the state in 2021 to better ensure the identification of potential victims.
First Lady of South Carolina Peggy McMaster shared the Governor’s Proclamation declaring January Human Trafficking Awareness Month in South Carolina. She thanked the public for their continued efforts to spread awareness and remains committed to helping raise awareness about the crime while encouraging more people to get involved in the anti-human trafficking movement.
For more information on the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force and to read the 2020 Annual Report, please visit humantrafficking.scag.gov or www.scag.gov.