Attorney General Wilson and Human Trafficking Task Force discuss new tools, educating youth

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – June 1, 2018 – Attorney General Alan Wilson told the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force Friday that the state has new tools to help fight the crime. The state legislature strengthened state laws against human trafficking, at the urging of the Attorney General’s Office. One law created a 30-year non-parolable offense for trafficking in minors. Lawmakers also changed the wording of the law against human trafficking to make it easier to prosecute the buyers of trafficking victims under the human trafficking law.

South Carolina Legal Services also has a first for the state: a full-time attorney who will do nothing but provide free legal services to trafficking victims for non-criminal matters.

The Task Force also heard from two high school students, the outgoing and incoming chairs of the Youth Advocacy Subcommittee, on the importance of educating young people about human trafficking. The state will hold its first ever Human Trafficking Youth Advocacy Summit for high school students on June 27th in Columbia.

Incoming Chair Reilly Arford, a rising senior at Ridge View High School in Columbia, says boys and young men need to be educated as early as possible so they can reduce the demand for human trafficking. All young people also need to learn more about it so they can avoid becoming victims.

“They may get into that situation that may need educating on the signs of human trafficking, and might say, ‘Uh, well, I’m not quite sure that this is the best thing for me. Let me get myself out of this before it can turn deadly,’” he said.

Attorney General Wilson said, “I personally believe that the best way to wage the war on human trafficking, in addition to prosecuting it vigorously, is to raise awareness at the earliest ages that we possibly can, and how do we do that? How do we engage young people? That was the question that was asked. And so hearing from these young people from their vantage point was very instructive to me and many of the other people there.”

For interested high school students, you can learn more about the Human Trafficking Youth Advocacy Summit at the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force website: http://humantrafficking.scag.gov/south-carolina-human-trafficking-youth-advocacy-summit/

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