New regulations covering groups and organizations which provide assistance and services to help human trafficking victims are set to take effect next year.
The certification requirements designed by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office are part of legislation passed earlier this year specifically addressing human trafficking. Beginning in January, victim service providers will be required to have 15 hours of human trafficking-specialized training each year.
“The providers must be certified through the Attorney General’s Office with established criteria from the Human Trafficking Task Force,” Deputy Director of Crime Victim Services Training, Provider Certification and Statistical Analysis Kim Hamm said.
There are about 4,300 crime victim service providers in South Carolina. The new certification will be paired with an existing program already provided by the AG’s Office for over 10 years.
Hamm said the certification will have similar requirements as for other victims service providers, but tailored toward human trafficking.
“They will have to attend this separate training to get the human trafficking certification on top of it,” she said. “So there is some overlap, but anyone who’s going to be a human trafficking service provider has to attend this training to get this certification… (Victims) have very specific dynamics that are very different than some of the more traditional victim services like child abuse or sexual assault. And then there’s the totally opposite end, labor trafficking, which is very different from what most of our victim service providers in the state deal with. . .In some of these cases, they don’t see themselves as victims.”
Qualified victim services providers will begin receiving training invitations in January. All providers will be vetted through the Human Trafficking Task Force and Hamm’s office.