COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- 64 human trafficking cases were closed in South Carolina in 2018, 13 new cases were added. But the state is constantly working on ways to decrease those numbers and prosecute offenders involved in these heinous crimes.
The SC Human Trafficking Task Force was established to help the state develop strategies to combat the issue. The organization combines the expertise of different industries ranging from faith-based groups to law enforcement.
The task force now has a new member to help identify and report both sex and labor trafficking.
“It’s important to have diverse groups on this task force. because everyone is going to deal with human trafficking and see it in different ways based on what they do for a living,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson.
The SC Restaurant and Lodging Association recently joined the efforts.
Bobby Williams, the association’s board chair and President of Lizard’s Thicket, explained the role of the organization.
“We have so many members throughout the state and we’re one of the largest employers in the state; the hospitality industry.”
As part of the task force, employees at those hotels and restaurants will be trained to identify warning signs of sex and labor trafficking.
Attorney General Wilson continued, “Human traffickers and criminals go to restaurants just like we do and training our wait staff our hospitality staff how to identify things and report things gives us just that many more eyes on the ground.”
Williams added to Wilson’s statement. “I feel like a lot of people hear about it and don’t think it’s in their communities but believe me it’s happening every day. We want to make our members aware and maybe some tips on what to look at you know if you see something say something.”
In addition to the training, restaurants and hotels will also put up posters with the human trafficking hotline number.
There are 2200 restaurants and hotels in the association. There are more than 300 members of the state’s human trafficking task force.