GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office along with non-profits SWITCH and Safe Harbor came together Saturday to help fight human trafficking in the Upstate.
Jonathan Bastoni, an investigator with the sheriff’s office, helped explain some of the misconceptions about the issue at the West End Community Development Center in Greenville.
“What we have is people who know their victim and they take the time to manipulate,” said Bastoni.
The forum was called “Let’s Talk About It – Human Trafficking.”
With Interstate 85 running through the Upstate and the fact that the area is between Atlanta and Charlotte, two of the top 10 cities for human trafficking, advocates said those cities are getting saturated with human traffickers and starting to branch out to Greenville, Spartanburg, and other surrounding towns and cities.
Curtis Harper, chairman of SWITCH, said Upstate people are trafficking Upstate people.
“Our goal is to help them heal. They’ve suffered unbelievable traumas. Many may have substance abuse issues,” said Harper.
SWITCH has a 24-hour emergency hotline for victims: 1-888-773-4216.
You can find more information about SWITCH and the work the non-profit provides in the community by visiting the website here.