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University of Missouri

Human Trafficking Hits Home

Faculty member writes report on human trafficking.

human trafficking

Trafficking in human beings is a local problem, says faculty member Deb Hume. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

The world’s 21 million victims of forced labor, coerced or deceived into jobs they cannot leave, include people living in Missouri, says Deb Hume, MA ’95, PhD ’98, associate teaching professor of public health. Hume co-chaired the American Psychological Association committee that produced the “Report of the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls.” For instance, in a recent case in Kansas City, an apparent labor brokerage group brought in internationals on guest worker visas and, in effect, locked them into janitorial jobs by charging high fees and withholding wages. Sometimes take-home pay amounted to pennies a day. Sadly, Hume says, “Human trafficking has always been an element of the human condition.”