GREENVILLE, SC – As human trafficking continues to spread as the fastest growing crime in the world, one Upstate non-profit is flying overseas to try and stop it, before men and women are brought over and trafficked in America.
Persuaded by a friend to visit the Dominican Republic, Jack Eason said he saw something that could not be unseen.
“I saw young girls, 10, 11, 12 years old who had been made up and were out on the streets,” he explained.
In the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation where children are often taught to sell themselves for money, human trafficking is a thriving industry.
“That was my first experience of seeing what human trafficking looks like in the third world,” Eason said. “I got on the plane and said okay I cannot go home and – doing nothing is not an option now.”
Eason is the Executive Director of The Crossover Cups Mission, a nonprofit that helps children in the Dominican before they’re picked up by traffickers.
Volunteers from the Upstate and around the country teach children English and other trades, like sewing and baking, so they have a healthy source of income.
Office Administrator Abby Scull, from Greenville, has been twice.
“There are two girls in college right now that most likely wouldn’t have been, if we didn’t have a presence there,” Scull told 7 News Friday.
Scull said she was trained by SWITCH, an Upstate Organization that helps victims of human trafficking.
What she learned, she brought to the streets.
According to Eason, The Crossover Cups Mission serves hundreds of children a week, and while the work they’re doing is over a thousand miles away, he believes it’s still helping the Upstate.
“That trade route if you will, comes around the Dominican Republic, right up through Miami, Atlanta, Greenville,” he explained. “If we can keep those kids from being picked up and routed through America, maybe we’re helping in both places at the same time.”