Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - South Carolina

Date: December 2018

State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 63-7-20; 63-7-620; 63-7-630; 63-7-980

A child is a victim of trafficking in persons as defined in § 16-3-2010, including sex trafficking, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's welfare.

A law enforcement officer may take emergency protective custody of a child without the consent of the child's parents, guardians, or others exercising temporary or permanent control over the child if the officer has probable cause to believe that by reason of abuse or neglect the child's life, health, or physical safety is in substantial and imminent danger if the child is not taken into emergency protective custody, and there is not time to apply for a court order pursuant to § 63-7-1690.

When an officer takes a child into emergency protective custody under this subarticle, the officer immediately shall notify the Department of Social Services. The department shall notify the parent, guardian, or other person exercising temporary or permanent control over the child as early as reasonably possible of the location of the child, unless there are compelling reasons for believing that disclosure of this information would be contrary to the best interests of the child.

The department must cooperate with law enforcement agencies within the area it serves and establish procedures necessary to facilitate the referral of child protection cases to the department.

When the facts indicating abuse or neglect also appear to indicate a violation of criminal law, the department must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of those facts within 24 hours of the department's finding for the purposes of police investigation.

When the intake report is of alleged sexual abuse, the department must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours of receipt of the report to determine if a joint investigation is necessary. The law enforcement agency must file a formal incident report at the time it is notified of the alleged sexual abuse.

Training Requirement

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-3-2050(E)(7)

The interagency task force shall review mandatory training for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and other relevant officials in addressing trafficking in persons.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-3-2020(G)

If the victim was a minor at the time of the offense, the victim of trafficking in persons may not be prosecuted in court pursuant to this article or a prostitution offense, if it is determined after investigation that the victim committed the offense as a direct result of, or incidental or related to, trafficking.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-3-2050(E)(5)

The interagency task force shall review the existing services and facilities to meet trafficking victims' needs and recommend a system to coordinate services, including, but not limited to, health services, including mental health; housing; education and job training; English-as-a-second-language classes; interpreting services; legal and immigration services; and victim compensation.

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-3-2050

The attorney general shall establish an interagency task force to develop and implement a State Plan for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons. The task force shall consider carrying out the following activities either directly or through one or more of its constituent agencies:

  • Coordinate the collection and sharing of trafficking data among government agencies, while respecting the privacy of victims of trafficking in persons
  • Coordinate the sharing of information between agencies for the purposes of detecting criminal groups engaged in trafficking in persons
  • Establish policies to enable the State government to work with nongovernmental organizations and other elements of civil society to prevent trafficking in persons and provide assistance to U. S. citizens and foreign national victims
  • Evaluate various approaches used by State and local governments to increase public awareness of the trafficking in persons, including U.S. citizens and foreign national victims of trafficking in persons
  • Collect and periodically publish statistical data on trafficking
  • Prepare public awareness programs designed to educate potential victims of trafficking in persons and their families on the risks of victimization
  • Prepare and disseminate awareness materials to the general public to educate the public on the extent of trafficking in persons, both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, within the United States and to discourage the demand that fosters the exploitation of persons that leads to trafficking in persons

To the extent that funds are appropriated, the task force may make grants to or contract with a State agency, local government, or private victim's service organization to develop or expand service programs for victims. A recipient of a grant or contract shall report annually to the task force the number and demographic information of all victims receiving services pursuant to the grant or contract.