Local task force works to educate the community about human trafficking

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force is working to educate the community about possible signs of human trafficking and how they can help.

Officials say anyone can be a victim of human trafficking and many people, including children, are targeted through the internet.

Several possible signs of trafficking could be: changes in behavior, someone being in an online relationship with someone they have never met, increased isolation from family or friends, or lack of proper identification.

“If you see a child going to the movies, or in the mall or something and they have two cell phones, that’s maybe a sign of something,” Lieutenant Sherri Smith, with the Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force and Horry County Sheriff’s Office, says. “Or if they are using street lingo or all the sudden a child starts getting a lot of flashy gifts, new shoes or new something that they wouldn’t normally have.” 

Lieutenant Smith tells News13 the Task Force says signs of trafficking are not always obvious and it’s important for parents to keep a close eye on their child’s internet behavior.

The Task Force has previously held training open to the public about how the community can get involved in fighting trafficking in our area and right now, officials are working to educate teachers and school staff about warning signs and how they can help. 

“Our kids are at school most of the day, so they are with the teachers and the coaches most of the day, more than they are at home so we want to talk to them so if a child comes to them, they will know those signs,” Lieutenant Smith says.

The number to the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888. 

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