MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – People in Myrtle Beach participated in the nationwide #SaveOurChildren movement to raise awareness for human trafficking on Saturday.
“Save-our-children” was chanted up and down Ocean Boulevard as part of a movement to draw attention and start conversations to stop human and sex trafficking.
“We could be walking down the boulevard, and a kid may hear us that’s in trouble,” James Hess, a participant, and co-organizer said.
People said they showed up to give a voice to the voiceless. Support waved on signs that read “Save Our Children,” “Human Trafficking Hotline: 1(888)373-7888,” and “#EndHumanTrafficking.”
“Awareness is the first step we can make a change with,” Torri Gambacorta, a participant, said.
“This is a tourist town, so I think there is a lot of that we don’t know about, or possibly do and have the police involved. It’s hard to catch the dark web, and there is a lot of that going on. Hopefully, we can bring enough awareness to stop that,” Suzanne Laney, another participant, said.
The latest report from 2019 showed a 360% increase in the total number of trafficking victims recorded in South Carolina and an increase in the number of human trafficking cases reported across the state.
“I think if more people are aware they are going to be more observant,” Jane Fredericks, a participant, said.
The nationwide #SaveOurChildren movement recently took social media by storm. A local group took action by creating a Facebook event.
“I noticed Myrtle Beach had not done anything yet. So, I was like I’m going to create a Facebook page quick, and little did I know it just took off,” Brittany Haugen, the event organizer said.
Participants and organizers acknowledged some #SaveOurChildren movements in other cities and states might have a connection to conspiracy theories, such as QAnon. They said this event did not have any ties.
“I don’t believe in that,” Graham Dickinson, a participant, and co-organizer said. “There are a lot of conspiracy theories that have been going on, but say even a third of those are true, we still have a human trafficking problem.”
Jane Fredericks made a sign with pictures of missing children according to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children‘s website.
“These are all from South Carolina. The highlighted ones are the ones who went missing just this year, and there are 52 of them,” Fredericks said.
Saturday’s messages spotlighted human trafficking by joining a movement to raise awareness to save one victim at a time.
“It lets them know they are not alone that we are here for them, and we will help, and we will protect them,” Hess said.
News13 asked group leaders if the Myrtle Beach “Save Our Children” movement was tied to a conspiracy theory. All participants and organizers interviewed, denied.