Lowcountry Human Trafficking Task Force to hold community address on human trafficking

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The Lowcountry Human Trafficking Task Force will address human trafficking in the lowcountry through its upcoming Community Address at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 in the Bluffton Library’s large conference room at 120 Palmetto Way.

The Task Force serves the five-county area of the 14th Judicial Circuit.

Through this address the public will have the opportunity to hear from Chairman Sheila Roemeling, Co-Chair Shane Roberts, Solicitor Duffy Stone and the South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson on what human trafficking is and how the collaboration of teams in the task force and state are combating this crime in the lowcountry as well as South Carolina.

“The safety and beauty of the lowcountry depends on the community as a whole fighting against crime, especially human trafficking in all its forms,” Roemeling said in a release.

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.

In South Carolina, human trafficking includes anyone younger than 18 soliciting commercial sex acts of any kind. South Carolina had 127 reported cases of human trafficking in 2018 of combined labor and commercial sex.

“There are far more which are not reported due to victims not self identifying and seeking help. Even one should be too much for a free country to excuse,” Roemeling said. “We must fight slavery in all forms, not just abroad but here in our own backyards daily. The purchases we make are a vote for slavery or against slavery every day.”

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. To learn more and begin to take part in this fight, attend the Community Address. Get questions answered while picking up information on how to become involved and informed.

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