Beer distributors helping fight human trafficking in South Carolina

Beer distributors helping fight human trafficking in South Carolina

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced a new partnership with the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force and the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association on Friday morning.

Beer distributors in South Carolina employ more than 2,000 employees and now they're joining the fight against human trafficking.

“You see the magnitude of this problem in South Carolina and across the country,” said Lance Boozer, the executive director of the South Carolina Beer Wholesalers Association. “It really hits close to home.”

Members in the association deliver beer to any place that sells it like restaurants, hotels, and bars. Beer distributors make about a million stops a year across the state.

"We have fathers, sisters, mothers, and brothers who are employees. If we can have one person call in, if we can affect just one life, that will be worth all the work we hopefully put into this task force," Boozer said.

In the coming weeks, beer distributors will be undergoing training to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

Officials with the S.C. Human Trafficking Task Force said law enforcement and prosecutors aren't the only groups fighting the issue.

"To see folks from the state, local, and federal level all coming together to learn about what's happening and to be on the same page and to support efforts to streamline this is a great feeling," Kathryn Moorehead with the Office of the Attorney General said.

According to the Human Trafficking Task Force, 64 charges of human trafficking were closed in state courts in 2018.

"All of these ideas that became policy and legislation came from members of this task force. That's how I know we are being successful," Attorney General Wilson said.

Delivery trucks will also have new signs with information on the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the month of January to help raise awareness on the issue.

Drivers will also carry quick reference cards on how to report suspected trafficking.

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