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On Friday Jan. 14, Colleton County Middle School students were shocked to hear that more human beings are victims of human trafficking during Super Bowl week than at any other time.
“January is Human Trafficking Month and a growing concern in South Carolina,” said Kathryn Moorehead, guest speaker.
Moorehead is the director of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Human Trafficking Programs at the S.C. office of the attorney general. She is also the coordinator of the S.C. Human Trafficking Task Force.
Moorehead used the time with the students to warn them about sexual predators online and on social media.
“To human traffickers, social media is a dream,” she said. “It is so easy to find lonely, unhappy kids online on Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, etc. And kids who are trafficked are as young as six years old all the way to 18 years old and up.” She included facts that one out of every four runaways ended up being trafficked.
Running through scenarios with the preteens, Moorehead helped them to identify the behavior of predators and traffickers, whether online or in person.
They were urged to stay away from certain sites and requests, and to report suspicious activity to parents or teachers.
“It’s very important to know that this is a growing trend in this state. Having several major interstates and highways makes it worse. These roads take traffickers right through our state to major cities. Be on the lookout … protect yourself and others,” said Moorehead.