Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

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A Myrtle Beach man was arrested as part of a sting operation in the Upstate. (Source: GCSO)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - More than 40 people are facing charges after an investigation targeting child predators and sex traffickers in the Upstate.

One of those men came from Myrtle Beach, and he's accused of wanting to eat a child and engage in bestiality.

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office charged Justin Bensing with two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor.

FOX Carolina reports Bensing's accused of soliciting an undercover officer who he thought was a minor child, asking if she was “ready to be a full time baby maker and sex slave?"

According to authorities, the Internet Crimes Against Children unit in Greenville worked with the same unit here in Horry County to arrest Bensing earlier this year.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune responded to the arrest with a statement that read:

    "No community is safe from the horrific and growing issue of sex trafficking and slavery. Our State Attorney General has talked at length about the fact that South Carolina is not immune to it. Myrtle Beach is not the problem. It's the fact that we live in a world where there is evil that's the problem. It's a heart issue vs. a location issue."

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean also responded with a statement that read:

    "The Greenville incident revealed twisted, despicable behavior that is deeply disturbing and not limited to any single community or state. Thankfully, our local law enforcement agencies and the South Carolina Attorney General are vigilant about identifying and preventing human trafficking. The Myrtle Beach Police Department has been active on the AG’s task force for human trafficking and they work closely with local businesses, such as hotels, to keep a watchful eye out for criminals who prey upon those who cannot protect themselves, especially children.  While law enforcement is key to preventing trafficking, the police cannot manage this alone, as it requires collaborative support from the business community."

According to court records, Bensing lives in the Emmens Preserve neighborhood in Myrtle Beach near The Market Common. People who live nearby couldn't believe the news.

“I am just appalled," Spring Haigler, who lives in Emmens Preserve, said. "I think anybody would be to know that somebody has those kinds of thoughts, especially in the same area where you’re living. It’s pretty terrifying, but I guess it can happen anywhere.”

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