South Carolina News: Charleston, U.S. Attorney’s Office Provides Human Trafficking Training to Local Law Enforcement

Charleston, South Carolina – United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that over the last two weeks, the United States Attorney’s Office provided training to South Carolina’s Tri-County Human Trafficking Task Force on methods of investigating and prosecuting federal human trafficking cases.

The training was part of a three-day course entitled “Advanced Human Trafficking Investigations Law Enforcement Course.” The course was sponsored by the Charleston County Sherriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and ERASE, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization focused on eliminating child trafficking through education and professional training.

Originally set to include a single training session, U.S. Attorney Lydon stated a second class was organized due to high levels of interest among local law enforcement agencies. “We applaud our local law enforcement partners for taking such an interest in this important issue. Human trafficking is a worldwide crisis sustained by a vast criminal network that exploits vulnerable children and adults, including right here at home,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “Successfully prosecuting these cases depends on the cooperation of state and federal law enforcement agencies. Through courses like this, we are taking the steps necessary to tackle this problem head-on in South Carolina.”

Instructors presented on a range of topics relating to human trafficking, including statistics provided by ERASE’s 2012 Survivor Survey. According to the survey, approximately 75% of underage sex trafficking victims reported being sold online. Additionally, the average age of entry into sex trafficking for a child victim in the United States was reported to be 12 years old for a girl and 11 years old for a boy. It is estimated that one in three teens living on the street will be lured toward trafficking within 4-8 years of leaving home.

U.S. Attorney Lydon also announced that each of the four U.S. Attorney’s Offices in South Carolina now have designated points of contact for issues relating to human trafficking prosecutions.

Instructors at the course included Major Rick Hoffman, Raleigh Police Department (retired); Lori A. Sims, AMP, MPP; Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Victor Williams (retired); and Assistant United States Attorneys Jamie Schoen and Matt Austin from the Charleston Office.

SOURCE: news provided by JUSTICE.GOV on Monday, December 17, 2018.