National Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Contact Person: Carrie Fisher Sherard (864) 282-2100
Columbia, South Carolina ------ In recognition of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, United States Attorney Beth Drake provides the following statement:
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation stating: “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States . . . will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.” The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.
A 21st Century form of servitude is lurking in the shadows of our economy - human trafficking. Human trafficking is the modern-day variation of the slavery that our country forbid so many years ago. Human trafficking eradicates the liberties that are central to American society, and strikes at the very core of our most basic values, those of freedom and choice.
Where we once thought human trafficking existed only beyond our borders or in another time, we now know South Carolina is not immune to its ills. Now more than ever, the U.S. Department of Justice through the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to rescuing human trafficking victims and prosecuting traffickers. The United States has provided the U. S. Attorney’s Office and its partners with strong and effective tools to bring to justice those who commit these most offensive human rights violations.
Consistent with the authority given to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we recognize that the most effective approach to combating human trafficking violations in South Carolina is one that engages all segments of our society. Traffickers prey on men, women, and children - both foreign nationals and United States citizens. The exploitation of these individuals varies from the forced labor of workers in the agricultural and service industries to the forced commercial sex trade and many other forms - all yielding shameful profits to the traffickers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has successfully prosecuted human trafficking cases from the coast to the midlands to the upstate. Building on these successes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work to strengthen relationships between federal, state, and local law enforcement, governmental agencies, and non-governmental agencies to rescue more human trafficking victims and effectively prosecute these human rights violations.
Through the vigorous prosecution of human traffickers and in conjunction with the FBI and DHS HSI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will to work to make South Carolina an area inhospitable to and intolerant of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is quite simply, a form of modern-day slavery, and the sexual abuse of underage victims only adds to the heinous nature of such crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations Atlanta Nick Annan. “Over the past two years HSI has rescued nearly 1,000 trafficking victims nationwide with many of them often hidden in plain sight. HSI will continue our relentless pursuit to investigate and seek prosecution of criminal traffickers while ensuring the victims of this terrible crime are rescued and get the care they need.”
The FBI stated: “Human trafficking is a very real problem in South Carolina that is being addressed by the FBI and our law enforcement partners and community organizations in South Carolina. The victims are frequently fearful and reluctant to talk to us. We ask that anyone with any information about human trafficking contact the FBI.”
Warning Signs of Human Trafficking
Minor engaged in commercial sex activities
Signs of physical abuse
Deprivation of food, water, sleep, or medical care
Someone whose communications are restricted
A large number of occupants in one residence
Someone who is rarely seen outside their residence
Individual not allowed to socialize or attend religious services
Always accompanied when outside the residence
Outside locks on doors and windows to prevent someone from leaving the residence
No travel documents for identification, i.e., ID card, birth certificate, passport, visa, Social Security card
To report suspected human trafficking, the public should contact their local law enforcement office or the national human trafficking hotline at 1-888-3737-888.