Most Americans, when they hear the phrase “human trafficking,” think of captured women and children in a third world country. In reality, human trafficking is common right here in the United States and even in South Carolina. Since 2007, there have been 1,330 reports of human trafficking and 308 cases in South Carolina alone. The actual number of victims is much higher.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking may also be referred to as human smuggling, trafficking in persons, or modern slavery. It includes sex trafficking and forced labor. Trafficking is not just a foreign problem. It may occur from one foreign country to another, however, travel from one state to another in the United States, is also occurring. The U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons 2017 Report describes “the heart of this phenomenon is the trafficker’s aim to exploit and enslave their victims and the myriad of coercive and deceptive practices they use.”
Why don’t the victims just run away?
Often times the victims have been misled into thinking they were signing up for a legitimate job to make a better life for themselves in the United States. But once they begin their travel, their identification papers may be taken, leaving them in a foreign country, and unable to speak the language. They may be intimidated, beaten, and have their or their family’s lives threatened. Many feel shame at having been deceived and coerced into performing criminal acts, and concerned about legal ramifications.
Who can help?
As awareness grows, so does the ability for people to help blow the whistle on human trafficking. First responders across the nation are receiving training on identifying victims. But observant, ordinary people can also help. For example, this airline attendant noticed a well-dressed man on a flight with a young, shabbily dressed, scared young woman. The attendant’s quick thinking saved the woman from her plight.
How can forensic accountants help?
According to the Trafficking in Persons 2017 Report, worldwide more convictions do not take place because there is often “inadequate or incomplete evidence.” Forensic accountants have investigative skills needed to find evidence and clearly present it to the courts. Since human trafficking is enmeshed in a tangled web of other crimes including fraud and money laundering, forensic accountants can gather evidence against the human traffickers’ organization.
How can Quick Group help?
We recently welcomed Barbara Y. Brown to our team who comes to us with extensive FBI experience related to exposing human trafficking schemes. As Barbara and our whole team diligently work on forensic accounting cases, our investigative eyes and ears will be open for human trafficking in South Carolina. The more citizens of South Carolina become aware of the human trafficking problem, the more likely it is that victims can be rescued. Barbara has also developed training and speaking sessions related to human and sex trafficking, work place violence and safety, child exploitation, and internet safety issues. If your organization would like Barbara Y. Brown as a guest speaker, please contact Quick Group.
Whatever the focus of the investigation, Quick Group with its combined 80 plus years of experience will use investigative and interviewing skills to find evidence and to present it clearly to the courts. If you are in need services, please contact us today.