Two to speak on human trafficking community address


The Lowcountry Human Trafficking Task Force will host a community address Jan. 22 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Bluffton Library, 120 Palmetto Way. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The community address will be held from 10 a.m. – noon in the large conference room at the Bluffton Library, 120 Palmetto Way. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The program will start promptly at 10 a.m. Presenters will include 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone; Capt. Shane Roberts of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office; and Roemeling, executive director of Fresh Start Healing Heart. State and local officials will provide updates, trends and a forecast in the fight against human trafficking. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is scheduled to be the event’s keynote speaker. In 2018, there were 127 reported cases of both labor and sex trafficking in South Carolina, according to Sheila Roemeling, the task force’s chairperson. “There are far more cases which are not reported due to victims not self-identifying and seeking help,” she said. “We hope this community address will help shed light on this insidious and extremely lucrative crime where human beings are the commodities.” 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. The Lowcountry Human Trafficking Task Force is focused on educating the community about modern-day slavery. The task force is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement professionals, healthcare providers, prosecutors’ offices, clergy, victim service providers and others interested in creating a community free from human trafficking. The regional task force is a member of the larger state Human Trafficking Task Force, created to prevent human trafficking, to protect trafficked victims and to prosecute traffickers. To learn more, visit The event is open to the public, but registration is strongly encouraged, as seating is limited. To register, please contact Roemeling at or by calling (843) 338-8896.


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