Human trafficking may be more prevalent in Charleston than many think

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Sister Mary Thomas Neal became an advocate for human trafficking after seeing a video of the hardships women and children go through when they are sold for sex exploitation.

"She is put on a plane. She arrives in this country. She's put on a bus. She's drugged," said Thomas Neal. "She doesn't know where she's going. The next day she's going to be put together with a man who is going to rape her."

Since then, Thomas Neal has pushed for community awareness to look for signs of human trafficking.

"Look for bruises, look for a depressed look, look for someone who seems to be under the control of another person," said Thomas Neal.

14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone helped pass specific legislation against human trafficking. {}

"This new law requires law enforcement to investigate and interview all prostitutes that they arrest," said Stone. "Because the prostitution ring is something where these people are enslaved, they've been brought over from foreign countries and they are truly being controlled by the fear and intimidation of the organized crime."

Stone said it is vital for the community to step in and help law enforcement prosecute human traffic violators.

The new state law was passed in June but will take effect Dec. 18.

If you know of any possible cases, you can call 1-888-373-7888.