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CoastLine: Human Trafficking Victims Could Be In Nail Salons, Restaurants, Hotels

The first six months of 2018 saw 126 reported cases of human trafficking in North Carolina.  That’s according to Polaris. 

North Carolina’s Department of Administration reports that just last year, the state had 221 human trafficking cases. This statistic puts North Carolina at number eight among all 50 states for reported cases.  And yet, experts say the critical word, "reported", means those cases could be 1% of actual cases.  

Some of the reasons this fast-growing crime is prevalent in North Carolina:  the major highways that run through the state (40, 85, and 95), a large, transient military population surrounded by sexually oriented businesses, rural, agricultural areas with a high demand for cheap labor, and an increasing number of gangs.

A former Topsail High School track coach and assistant teacher, Ahmad Rashad Garrison, was arrested last year on charges that included human trafficking, according to Port City DailyWWAY reported a Wilmington man was sentenced to more than 40 years in prison after being found guilty of human trafficking charges earlier this year. 

While this crime can take a range of forms, it’s essentially modern-day slavery. 

For those seeking to help victims of human trafficking, one of the first orders of business is to identify them.  And that’s no easy task.  As one of our guests explains, "They don’t just walk into your office and say, “Hi.  I’m a victim of human trafficking.” 


Helen Tarokic, Board-Certified Immigration Specialist, Managing attorney at Helen Tarokic Law, PLLC in Wilmington, NC

Bill Woolf, Executive Director, Just Ask Prevention, which focuses on prevention and education in schools and for law enforcement 

Ben Schachtman, Managing Editor, Port City Daily 

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.