Human sex trafficking in South Carolina is real and rampant. It exists and thrives within the borders of the United States, including South Carolina.
Trafficking is so rampant that studies show that nearly everyone in the United States is affected by the commercial sex industry. However, sexual slavery and human trafficking affects many older than the age of 18 as well. A person can still be coerced to participate in the commercial sex industry after he or she reaches the age of The average age at which a victim begins to be trafficked is years old, and sadly, minors constitute a high percentage of those currently working in the commercial sex industry.
South Carolina is no exception to the rule that every state is contaminated with the grim reality of human sex trafficking. Again, only sporadic data exists on the commercial sex industry in South Carolina; however, some reliable numbers exist.
The lack of criminal convictions against known sex-traffickers is perhaps the most alarming number, though — a mere 50 charges of Trafficking in Persons closed in South Carolina in As gut-wrenching as these statistics are, the stories of the victims are even more traumatic.
Lanie George is one such victim. Did you know that sexual slavery is a huge problem in South Carolina? It's time we did something about it. Lanie grew up as a normal child except for one important difference — she was being exploited by the commercial sex industry.
When she was younger, Lanie would simply grab a bite to eat and do her homework while her mom worked. But one day when she was years-old, the strip club was running low on employees, so Lanie was recruited to help service the customers.
On top of all that, Lanie lacked the ability as a young girl to resist the demands of grown adults. And so, with little choice, Lanie was swept into the world of commercial sex. She knows the feeling of shame and disgust. And Lanie knows that those are the only feelings some people have toward those caught in the web of the commercial sex industry. For too long, many people have given little effort to understand the plight of victims.
Instead, these people assign the blame to the victims for their situation. To be certain, there are some who willingly choose to participate in commercial sex for financial reasons. Police will tell you that though they offer assistance to prostitutes to get out of the industry, some say that the money is just too good to give up.
These unwilling participants are coerced through physical abuse and threats, forced drug addiction, financial debt and many other avenues to remain a sexual slave. In other words, they have little choice or chance of escape. In many ways, misunderstanding of the commercial sex industry has led to misguided attempts to end it. For decades, law enforcement and legislators have focused their attention on lowering the number of prostitutes on the streets.
High demand keeps the commercial sex industry humming, not the desire of participants to provide the services. Though a somewhat crude way to explain the situation, an economic illustration using basic supply and demand theory provides important insight into why the commercial sex industry continues. Ambivalence toward the commercial sex industry has also led to a disturbingly-low number of resources to help victims escape and remain free from bondage.
Currently, South Carolina has zero recovery houses for victims and only a few ministries dedicated to helping them escape. Additionally, community awareness of the problem is low despite a recent uptick in efforts to spread the word. Because commercial sex is often the only way participants make money and because of the physical abuse and drug abuse victims experience, escaping requires more than just a decision to do so. Victims need a place to go — a reasonable alternative — to the only life they may have ever known.
Having no other legitimate place to go makes an already difficult choice even harder. Lanie George has since escaped the nightmare that is the commercial sex industry and was even able to save her mother. Now, Lanie runs Redeeming Joy, a safe place for victims of sex trafficking to heal. Lanie often wonders why no one stood up for her — if someone had just taken notice of her situation, she never would have experienced the horrors that she did.
Despite everything she has been through, Lanie understands now that her experiences have given her a greater opportunity to help those still entrapped.That report shows two Lowcountry counties are considered some of the worst in terms of human trafficking. Both Charleston County and Dorchester County are now in the top counties across the state affected by human trafficking. According to the report, the number of human trafficking victims to come forward substantially increased last year.
Inthere were victims of human trafficking victims, but invictims said they were being labored, or sex trafficked. The Attorney General said that human trafficking is still occurring in the same industries it previously had.
An intimate family member relationship. Possibly even an intimate partner relationship. AG Wilson said that human trafficking is still occurring in the same industries it previously has. Officials say that I and I are used by traffickers to transport victims between two trafficking hubs — Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, NC. It includes labor trafficking in the agriculture and farming, hospitality, domestic, retail and housekeeping industries. Out of the cases of human trafficking reported inthere were cases of sex trafficking, 34 cases of labor trafficking, seven cases of labor and sex trafficking, and eight cases that did not specify the kind of trafficking involved.
South Carolina Attorney General Wilson says many victims pass through South Carolina on the interstate due to where it sits. South Carolina as a state sits between two of the top human trafficking hubs in the country… that is Charlotte and Atlanta. To read the full Human Trafficking Report, click here.
Eddie Ingram, who made the announcement in a video message. Skip to content. Read the Full Article.The members are working to help victims escape and regain control of their lives. Lindsey Hass knows how difficult the process is. That date turned into a year-long trap in the sex trade. Hass said though they met in Maryland, they frequented Charleston.
The tourism, colleges, and overall population made it an easy spot to stop. Inshe and Burton were both arrested in Charleston. South Carolina Legal Services has helped many human trafficking victims clean up their record. They have to take the fall for the trafficking perpetrators. The legal team works to get those charges expunged. Just recently, the group received a grant to allow them to hire one attorney to focus solely on those cases. Right now, there are more than 70 open criminal cases for trafficking across the South Carolina, and each one of has at least one victim.
The Warning Signs. Now, the group is also focusing on human trafficking among children and teens. She works with local and state leaders to address the human trafficking issue in South Carolina. She also works to train adults in recognizing the problem. Garrett says vulnerability in children and adolescents tends to be the primary risk factor.
They may not be homeless, but the adults in their life tend to just wash their hands of them. Parents play a large role in putting a stop to human trafficking. If they are gone for long spurts of time, pay attention to that. Eddie Ingram, who made the announcement in a video message. Skip to content. Read the Full Article.At on a Friday night, five women park outside a strip club called Cabaret Royale in Northwest Dallas. They're about to launch a mission. This is their monthly outreach, when they visit places where women are possibly being trafficked for sex.
They offer the victims a way out. At a prayer meeting hours before, Rebekah Charleston prayed for safety. Charleston is the leader of Valiant Hearts, which doesn't share the last names of volunteers or the women they help. She, Dominique and Lisa unload pink gift bags from the trunk — enough for the 40 dancers working at Cabaret Royale this night — and head for the club's double doors. The other two women stay in the car. They're the support team. Charleston will be on a two-way radio the whole time they're in the club, just in case tensions flare.
Inside, they're greeted by a house mom, a matronly club employee with a long skirt and a supply of snacks and hygiene products for the dancers.
Her name is Patty.
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She gives Charleston a hug and ushers the ladies to a backstage dressing room where several women sit in front of makeup counters, smoking and ignoring the throb of music and men on the other side of the wall.
Lacey is on stage. She always dances to Brockhampton. The visitors pass out the gift bags and ask the dancers about themselves.USPS Worker Saves Teenage Girl From Sex Trafficking
They don't sell or cajole. Charleston is uncompromising on that point. The women need to feel that they have a choice. For many, it's the absence of choices that landed them in this life. Rebekah Charleston grew up in Keller, part of a stable, middle class family with six kids.
Inwhen Charleston was five, one of her brothers committed suicide and the family didn't know how to deal with that pain, didn't know who to ask. Charleston said her parents were autocratic, and at age 16, she moved in with a friend. She started going to school less, using drugs more.
Twice before she was 17, she was raped, but she kept the secret for fear that she would be blamed.Rebekah Charleston — sex trafficking victim CBS Charleston is talking about a I-Team investigation into a prostitution ring operating out of a very unlikely place- an upscale Denton home. Today, they tell us they were not criminals. They were victims. Attorney Andrew Stover-the very men who investigated them.
Twelve years ago, CBS11 ran a story about a prostitution ring in a Denton suburb. Charleston says she and other women lived in that house with their pimp. A tough thing for her to do, because she and her friend Bender, both suffered mental and physical abuse from the same pimp. The story ran right after Charleston, 26, was arrested for money laundering and tax evasion. It was all part of the high-dollar, prostitution ring operating at that Denton home.
Bender, 27, was living at their other home in Las Vegas with her 9-year-old daughter and other women. Becca Bender — sex trafficking victim CBS Particularly hard because more than a decade later, these women tell the I-Team what was really happening inside the home.
Instead of criminals, these women say they were victims lured into this lifestyle, brainwashed and beaten if they did not follow orders.
But the two men who put them behind bars knew exactly what was happening inside. Parsons was the IRS investigator who followed them all over the country. Stover, the Assistant U. S Attorney who prosecuted them, said the women were never the real target. The investigators hoped that by arresting the women, they would get the real criminal, the man who was trafficking them. But the women say they were too afraid to give up. The women were forced to stay in shape, pose for lewd photos and told how to walk and talk.
The women said the pimp guided them in opening businesses to disguise the money, making them feel successful but all the while controlling every dime without putting anything in his name. She was in a newspaper ad for the business.
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The women were so terrified of violence, they did everything they could to protect their pimp. Looking at the pictures taken during the raid of that Denton home, a koi pond is built into the theater floor. But some demands were anything but funny. The women were also forced to stay in shape and pose lewd photos and also told how to walk and talk. A lot has changed in the last decade.
After Charleston got out of prison in and Bender escaped with her 9-year-old girl, their lives have been reformed. They are now actively helping other women and helping law enforcement catch the traffickers.
Bender lives in Oregon with her family and is now an ordained minister. She is training thousands of investigators all over the world through the Rebecca Bender Initiative. Charleston is back in Texas getting her masters in criminal justice.Attorney Drake stated that Warren faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and maximum of life imprisonment.
Norton, of Charleston, presided over the trial and will impose sentence at a later date. Warren remains in custody.
Evidence presented at trial proved that Warren and his co-defendant, Monique Lewis, participated in a conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The defendants coerced several young women, including one minor, into working as prostitutes. The evidence showed that Warren routinely assaulted the victims and withheld food from them to coerce them into engaging in commercial sex acts.
Evidence also showed the defendants used the website Backpage. Lewis pled guilty prior to the trial of Warren. It is the second conviction of human traffickers working out of North Charleston by trial in federal court in the last 8 months.
Between the two cases, 12 human traffickers have been successfully prosecuted through the partnership of the U. Attorney Drake. You are here U. Department of Justice. Monday, October 23, Topic s :. Component s :.Jamie Mitchell, a former victim of sex trafficking, stands in a burned house in North Charleston where she said she smokes crack and turns tricks. The year-old said others forced her to sell sex for money from age 10 until The experience left her hooked on crack cocaine and dependent on prostitution to feed her habit.
Julie Bitzel, special agent Columbia Division, explains how the FBI monitors traffickers using online forums, such as backpage. Jamie Mitchell's gaunt frame swayed behind a glass window at the Charleston County jail as she explained why, after years of being busted and serving time, she still chooses to work as a prostitute in North Charleston.
The year-old said others forced her to sell sex for money from age 10 until 17, while she was in the foster care system. She recounted beatings, starvation, forced cocaine and heroin use and seeing the disappearance of other girls who stepped out of line with their traffickers.
The experience left her hooked on crack cocaine and dependent on turning tricks to feed her habit. This is the dark reality of sex trafficking in the Holy City and across South Carolina. Vulnerable children and young adults are forced to sell their bodies and held against their will, deprived of food and sleep and sometimes beaten until they meet a quota of men to service. No one knows exactly how widespread the problem is, but officials are beginning to realize it's a greater issue than previously thought.
Clemson University researchers recently reviewed three years worth of kidnapping and prostitution. On any given day, backpage. Classified sites such as backpage are hotbeds for trafficking because they allow sex traders to reach a wide audience while remaining anonymous. The difficulty of making a trafficking arrest and getting a conviction makes it an arduous problem to tackle. Police agencies don't have the resources to gather the evidence needed to make many arrests and it's difficult or impossible in many cases to get victims to testify against their abusers.
It's poor, affluent, middle class — everybody.
Sex trafficking came into the national spotlight inwhen the federal government passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act. The law defined commercial sex as trafficking, a felony, when it involves a boy or girl under 18 or an adult performing sex acts through force, fraud or coercion. It became clear soon after that the problem was too widespread for federal agents to undertake alone.
Sex trafficking made a blip on the radar in South Carolina inwhen a year-old was rescued outside Columbia after she called a relative for help and federal agents raided the trailer where she was held. She told authorities she had been smuggled in from Mexico and forced to service dozens of men a day. The bust was hailed as the state's first sex-trafficking case. Then, in Novembera disoriented young Mexican woman was found wandering the streets of the Pepperhill subdivision off Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston.
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