On Thursday, April 12, I was invited to attend a briefing at the State Department on human trafficking. We met with David Myers (the Director of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships for the Obama administration) and Nan Kennelly (Principal Deputy in the "Office to Monitor & Combat Trafficking in Persons"). Nan is second to Hillary Clinton in working in this area, and has primary responsibility for publishing the annual "Trafficking in Persons Report" (http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/), which, identifies how well (or how poorly) 184 countries are doing in dealing with human trafficking.
Human trafficking is more of an issue than I had imagined -- they claim there are domestic or sex industry slaves in almost every neighborhood of the U.S. -- but they seem to be making some progress, and are going to make a big effort to highlight the work next year, on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Congregations and community groups are encouraged to learn, together, how to identify trafficking victims, and to know how to report them to the appropriate authorities. Some helpful websites include: