Horry County police are investigating a possible sex trafficking report after a woman told police she got into a car with friends and ended up drugged and sexually assaulted by multiple suspects at a Socastee house.
Police responded to Conway Medical Center for a sexual assault complaint on Feb. 13.
A 22-year-old woman told police she got picked up by a friend from her home on Feb. 8, who then picked up his girlfriend, before the three drove to a home on Neil Street. The victim told police she and her friend’s girlfriend went into the home and the friend left.
Inside the home, the woman said she “drank Gatorade that contained fentanyl” and passed out, according to an incident report. When she awoke, she told police, she found a needle mark on her left arm, which was swollen.
The woman told officers she asked residents what happened and they admitted to injecting her with crystal meth, according to the report.
“The victim stated that she was not feeling well so they put her in the bathtub and after that she stated that they had consensual sex that would not have been consensual if she was … under the influence,” officers noted in the report.
The woman told police she had sex with three suspects multiple times over the next few days. She could identify the suspects only by their nicknames, the report stated.
The woman told police she was kept at the Neil Street house until Feb. 12, when the suspects moved her to an address on Woodwinds Drive off of S.C. 544.
The victim described the house as being blue in color and said it belonged to an Asian man who lived there with his mother, the report noted. The woman told police that the suspects cooked her dinner and told her to go to sleep.
“The victim stated that she stayed up all night watching the suspects and overheard them talking about killing her and getting rid of her in the swamp located in Plantersville,” officers noted in the report.
The woman told police that she observed one of the suspects putting on hip boots around 6 a.m. on Feb. 13 so she escaped to a nearby home to call her mother for help. Her mother picked her up on S.C. 544, according to the report.
Human trafficking is “big business” across the globe, Renee Causey, an expert in the field, who teaches at Horry Georgetown Technical College, told her class last week.
Local police agencies have built task forces to combat the threat and are taking closer looks at reported sex offenses for any signs of this growing crime.
Causey says trafficking occurs when a person is recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained by a person through force, fraud, coercion, abuse of power, deception or abduction for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forcible rape, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, slavery practices or the removal of organs.
The investigation continues, but police have little to go on with only nicknames of the alleged offenders, according to Krystal Dotson, public information officer with the Horry County Police Department.
Anyone with information is asked to call HCPD’s tip line at 843-915-TIPS (8477).