COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the findings in the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force’s 2020 Annual Report, saying the report showed a change in the top five counties reporting the crimes.
During a news conference Monday morning, Wilson reported that Horry County is No. 1 in the state for a second year for reported human trafficking to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
CLICK HERE to watch the AG Wilson’s announcement.
Charleston County second in the list, Greenville County was third, Richland County was fourth and Anderson County was fifth.
Wilson said Dorchester County dropped out of the Top 5 list in this year’s list.
According to the release, he said being in the Top 5 doesn’t mean that those counties have the most human trafficking cases, but said it could be a case that those counties have active regional human trafficking task forces and could mean that cases are reported more.
Wilson said there were 139 cases of human trafficking reported in this year’s annual report, with 179 victim cases reported through the hotline alone.
“The State Task Force continues its efforts, in collaboration with regional task forces across the state, to raise awareness of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number so victims can reach out for help and community members can report suspected incidents,” Wilson said. “We thank members across the state for their determination and hard work in combatting this heinous crime.”
Wilson also announced new partnerships with the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.
“Both agencies will be represented on a new State Task Force Advisory Council that was launched in 2020. Additionally, Department of Social Services Director Michael Leach spoke to his department’s efforts to respond to minor victims of both sex and labor trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the release.
Wilson also said there are efforts are underway to “further educate DSS staff across the state in 2021 to better ensure the identification of potential victims.”
South Carolina’s First Lady Peggy McMaster was also at the news conference, where she shared Gov. Henry McMaster’s proclamation, which declares January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in SC.
For more information on the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force and to read the full 2020 annual report, visit humantrafficking.scag.gov or www.scag.gov.