“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

According to the 2019 Annual Report by the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force, Horry county leads the state in the number of reported human trafficking cases. The report also notes a 360% increase in the number of trafficking victims recorded as part of the increase of reported cases. These numbers also correlate with an increase in labor trafficking cases in 2019. What is causing the increase?

What Caused the 2019 Increase in Reported Human Trafficking Cases in Horry County?

The Human Trafficking Task Force and South Carolina Attorney General say ramped up efforts across the state to increase the public awareness of human trafficking along with greater promotion of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number are responsible for the increase in reported cases. By increasing public awareness of human trafficking and what signs to look for in a potential trafficking victim, more reports are coming in and saving lives. By increasing awareness of the National Hotline, more victims are seeing the number and calling for help. Overall, better efforts to educate the public on spotting potential victims of human trafficking has been highly successful in helping catch human traffickers and rescue victims.

Additional Efforts in 2020

The South Carolina Attorney General recently announced a partnership between the SC Human Trafficking Task Force and two hospitality organizations: the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association and the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association. The goal of these partnerships is to help increase awareness within the hospitality industry about human trafficking, what it looks like (spotting potential victims) and how to proceed with reporting to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and local authorities. Additional education for and help from these industries is expected to continue the increase in reported human trafficking cases throughout the state. Other counties in the top five for reported human trafficking cases were Greenville, Richland, Dorchester and Charleston counties.

The increased reporting of human trafficking cases is a positive step in the right direction. It demonstrates that more and more people are becoming aware of the issue of human trafficking and making reports when they spot potential victims. Human trafficking is a continuing human rights issue across the world. The efforts of our local Task Force are making a real difference in our area. There is still more to be done. If you see something, say something. The National Human Trafficking Hotline number is 1-888-373-7888 or your can text them with the word HELP or INFO to 233733. The National Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year and has responders fluent in multiple languages. Program these numbers into your phone so you have them handy should you spot a potential victim of human trafficking.