'It is a real, present threat in S.C.’: Leaders discuss human trafficking in Grand Strand

HGTC hosts human trafficking task force

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - State and local agencies are coming together to fight what the South Carolina attorney general calls modern-day slavery.

The state’s Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force hosted a quarterly meeting Tuesday afternoon at Horry Georgetown Technical College’s Grand Strand Campus.

Human trafficking is a crime prevalent in our own backyard.

“It is a real, present threat in South Carolina," said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Wilson described the coastal region as a hotbed for human trafficking.

“The Grand Strand, the Myrtle Beach area, the coastal area of South Carolina has a high tourism traffic area,” said Wilson.

A yearly report by the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force shows Horry County is among the top five counties for human trafficking cases with 21 cases opened in state court in 2017. That’s why Wilson said the relaunch of the Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force last year is crucial in combating the issue.

“Having local nonprofit organizations as well as law enforcement come together here to address human trafficking in a regional area of the state is very vital and helpful to the statewide efforts to combat it statewide,” he said.

Wilson addressed the regional task force on Tuesday, highlighting successes in the state’s effort to fight human trafficking, including the passage of legislation to more efficiently prosecute human trafficking cases.

“The task force has helped us go from one of the worst states in the country in how we combat human trafficking to the gold standard, to one of the best states and the most improved states in human trafficking," said Wilson.

Despite the strides, the task force said there’s still more work to be done to end human trafficking in the state.

The South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force was launched in 2012, and has since grown to more than 300 members including law enforcement agencies, churches and advocacy groups.

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