According to the FBI, there are hundreds of thousands of American children being exploited. “It is not happening in third-world countries with people who don’t speak our language. It happens to regular people. It happens to people living across the street from you,” said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson. “You just don’t know it.”
Statistics show there are an estimated 150,000 sex trafficking victims in the United States. They are usually between 12 and 14 years old and live for just 7 years. These victims are, on average, sold between 10 and 15 times a day for at least 6 days a week. Only one to two percent of these victims are rescued.
“People seem to think slavery has went away, but unfortunately it didn’t,” said FBI special agent David Thomas. “It’s still alive and well.” Thomas says it’s alive and well in South Carolina because, according to him, the state is a “target-rich environment.” “We have a huge agricultural industry, and that industry kind of lends itself to that kind of activity,” said Thomas. “We have tourism, a very large tourism industry; you look at Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and Charleston.”
The state has not turned a blind eye to the activity. Attorney General Wilson says the state knows it goes on in the coastal areas and the Midlands. State leaders, lead by Wilson’s office, are working to strengthen human trafficking penalties while also offering more options for victims. “We want to be able to give the State Grand Jury the jurisdiction to be able to investigate human trafficking crimes, said Wilson. “With the Grand Jury, the Grand Jury has the ability to go farther and deeper as an investigative mechanism than conventional law enforcement mechanisms. To subpoena witnesses, to protect those witnesses, their secrecy, you know, and allowing them to speak without fear of being killed, by, say, a mobster, or a gang member.”
Learn more at PJ Randhawa’s WISTV News article: Sex slavery, human trafficking ‘alive and well’ in SC.