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

Recently, the state of South Carolina was ranked as most improved in the U.S. in the fight against human trafficking by Share Hope International. South Carolina was rated with a grade of “F” in 2017 but raised that rating to a “B” in 2018, mostly because of new legislation passed in 2018. Let’s take a look at the latest news and improvements.

Human Trafficking in South Carolina – New Laws

New laws passed in 2018 in South Carolina are largely responsible for the increased ranking, and is considered one of the most complete laws combating human trafficking in the entire country by Share Hope International. The new laws created a safe harbor for victims to help them permanently escape the human trafficking system. The new law also set a mandatory sentence of 30 years in prison without possibility of parole for anyone convicted of trafficking a minor and made sentences consecutive instead of concurrent. Concurrent sentences often reduce the amount of time a person spends in prison for an offense. This law eliminates that possibility for traffickers.

Still Room for Improvement

As much as the new laws have improved the response and awareness of human trafficking in South Carolina, there is still more room for improvement. Specifically, advocates would like to see the establishment of a trauma-aware human trafficking court. Advocates would also like to see laws that specifically address sex tourism.

Additionally, human trafficking tends to spike in a given area during major festivals and sporting events. At one point, the annual Super Bowl was the event with the most human trafficking. A study done by Carnegie Mellon University found that other events have now far surpassed the Super Bowl as the top event for human trafficking. One of the events named in the study as having a higher incidence and risk of human trafficking is the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bikefest, held in Myrtle Beach annually over Memorial Day weekend. While many major festivals and events have spikes during Memorial Day weekend, making it one of the most dangerous weekends of the year for human trafficking, the study found that Bike Week in Myrtle Beach is on the top of that list.

The latest news on human trafficking in South Carolina does show some very important improvements, however, there is room for progress and continued improvement. Human trafficking is happening all over the world, the U.S. and right here in South Carolina. The more aware we are, the more we can work together to put an end to human trafficking.