JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) -
The FBI is now looking into a possible sex trafficking situation after two missing girls were located over the weekend.
Fifteen-year-old Natalie Walker had been missing since the beginning of April and was last seen in Hardeeville. Fifteen-year-old Summer Jenkins was last seen in May, in Ridgeland. Just days after the sheriff's office reported their disappearance, they were found at a home Saturday on Morgan Dollar Road in the Coosawatchie area. The home appeared to be abandoned.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office believed the girls were being held hostage, but the investigation revealed they were able to come and go as they pleased. Experts in domestic violence and abuse say that's one of the big misconceptions when dealing with sex trafficking.
"The idea of kidnapping, that sex traffickers are lurking and grabbing people off the street; when in reality, most traffickers groom their victims they identify to go through a process of grooming them and bringing them into the fold and using coercion and threats to intimidate them and make them do what they want," said Kristin Dubrowski, Hopeful Horizons.
“First of all it’s a business, it’s a horrible business but it’s a business so there’s a financial incentive in order for them to accomplish it they have to have the victims under control, there are a number of ways in doing that," said Duffie Stone, Solicitor, 14th Circuit. "One is by holding them captive or by blackmailing them. It is a clandestine crime. It is a crime that requires secrecy of the traffickers.”
There are warrants out for the arrest of two men connected to the home on Morgan Dollar Road. Jarrone and Jamarcus Brisbane are wanted for kidnapping, possession of a firearm, and domestic violence.
Sheriff Malphrus tells WTOC the girls were taken into custody and sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia. He says that is because they were originally reported as runaways, which is against the law in the state of South Carolina. Some officials believe the area's layout makes it a target for such crimes.
"I think in some ways, because we have a large tourist population, a transient population coming in and out, passing through, may make our area slightly more susceptible, but I know it does happen in rural areas and cities alike. It might just look a little different here," Dubrowski said.
There are two types of human trafficking: sex and labor. It's a $150 billion international crime industry, surpassing both drug trafficking and illegal arm sales.
With sex trafficking 70 percent of the victims are women, half of them are children with the average age being between 12 and 14-years-old.
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