Greenville, SC (WSPA) – January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office recently released their annual report on the state’s efforts to combat the issue.
South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson held a presser Monday morning meant to shine a light on Human Trafficking in South Carolina. Officials say they saw an increase in trafficking when COVID-19 hit.
That’s why organizations like Jasmine Road are so important. It’s an organization that provides housing and meaningful employment for women coming out of trafficking situations.
At Jasmine Kitchen, in Greenville, every meal and every scoop goes to help a woman. They even have gift boxes and merchandise like candles and t-shirts. Everything that you buy goes to help the organization Jasmine Road and helps women have a safe place to live.
Their two year program works to make sure women have the skills and support they need to make it on their own. Jasmine Kitchen, a financial arm of Jasmine Road, provides work for those who need it.
“Human trafficking is something that is happening in our community and I think we’ve done a lot to bring awareness to this issue,” Executive Director of Jasmine Road Beth Messick said.
That research released by A.G. Wilson Monday identified two counties in the Upstate that rank in the top five places for people calling to report incidents of trafficking.
1. Horry County
2. Charleston County
3. Greenville County
4. Richland County
5. Anderson County
“I also want to make it abundantly clear, just because the five counties that I have listed in that order doesn’t mean that they are the five worst counties with human trafficking. These are counties were people are calling the hotline,” Wilson said.
Attorney General Wilson pointed out that some of those calls may turn out to be something else after authorities investigate. Beth Messick, Executive Director of Jasmine Road, said sometimes trafficking is difficult to recognize.
“A lot of the victims that we see that are involved in human trafficking, they weren’t thrown in the back of a car, they’re not taken against their will, they actually go voluntarily and because of that there is a grooming process by which trafficker’s use to target vulnerable people,” Messick said.
The restaurant opened weeks before covid hit, they had to close down, but they’re open again. You can order online, you can walk in or you can phone in your order.