COLUMBIA, S.C. — On the tenth anniversary of its creation, the South Carolina Task Force on Human Trafficking has released its 2022 Annual Report showing an increase in the number of human trafficking cases.
According to the report, South Carolina Law Enforcement (SLED) supported the investigations of 416 cases involving human trafficking in 2022. A breakdown of those numbers include:
- 399 victims were minors
- 17 victims were adults
- 23 different defendants face a total of 34 charges of human trafficking
- the first jury trial involving human trafficking of a minor in state court resulted in a conviction in Lancaster County
- a total of 32 cases were closed in 2022, 28 of those cases were dismissals
- geographically, human trafficking cases were reported the most in Greenville (18), Charleston (14), Richland (13), Horry (12), and Spartanburg (5) counties
- Aiken, Lexington, and York counties each reported 3 cases
- there was a 450% increase in victims of labor trafficking, and a44% increase of victims who identified as Latinx
The report also breaks down the top recruitment methods for human trafficking. In 2022, the top methods were the following:
- job advertisement/offer: 49%
- false promises/fraud: 38%
- familial: 18%
- posing as a benefactor: 15%
- intimate partner/marriage proposition: 14%
- abduction: 3%
From these numbers, the State Task Force has realized the state is struggling to provide adequate services to all victims of human trafficking. According to the report, "There is a dire need for increased services for both children and adults. Currently the state has one organization providing residential care for minor female sex trafficking survivors and another providing residential care for adult female sex trafficking survivors. While there is a community-based program that works with male victims, there are currently no residential programs for boys or men. Furthermore, there are no residential programs to support survivors of labor trafficking. The lack of services continues to be the biggest challenge for all stakeholders in our state."
One of the goals of the task force is to launch an Acute Crisis Care & Resource Center that would "provide the opportunity for law enforcement and child welfare professionals to transport minor victims to a secure residential setting where the children can receive immediate crisis stabilization, forensic interviews and exams, and the multi-disciplinary team can meet at the location to determine next steps in services for the victim."
The task force plans for a minimum of four centers across the state, designed for all minor victims of human trafficking.
You can see the complete report at scag.gov