PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) - The Coastal Women of Faith organization hosted an informational forum at the Abbey Anglican Church in Pawleys Island Friday to educate the public on human trafficking.
According to leaders, labor trafficking is a growing problem, specifically in the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas.
Labor trafficking is a form of human trafficking that targets mostly young international students, who are often called "passport students."
Traffickers will sponsor these students and lure them into the United States with promises of a great, new job.
Charleston and Myrtle Beach are both popular places for traffickers to send the passport students because of the large number of tourists and high level of activities during the active summer months from April to September
According to Acton Beard with the Coastal Women of Faith, the international students will arrive at the airport in the United States and meet their sponsor, who often times puts them up in an inadequate living situation.
"They grab hold of the kids and they put them into very unseemly situations," Beard said. "Whereas these kids are just like your child and mine, who would come to the states thinking they are getting a summer job in the United States and instead they're trafficked?"
Beard said the first step to take in order to lower the level of human trafficking in the Myrtle Beach area is through education.
"By providing, for instance, if you have an extra bedroom or something that you could take a child on like an exchange student for the summer and at least provide them with a safe place to stay," Beard said. "And maybe even help them find a job that is a good job, that is a healthy job."
Beard emphasized the importance of offering help and support to anyone who has been a victim of human trafficking.
That is because those are the people with inside sources who could help lower the level of human trafficking across the region as a whole.