It ought to concern every person . . . every community . . . every business . . . every nation. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name—modern slavery.
—President Barack Obama, September 25, 2012
Throughout the history of the United States, the issue of slavery has troubled the minds and hearts of legal professionals. While the last 148 years have been governed by the seemingly simple proposition of the Thirteenth Amendment, that “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist,” these concepts have been parsed and examined for years, with experts turning to a host of terms to name this crime: slavery; servitude; peonage; debt bondage; slavery-like practices; practices similar to slavery; contemporary forms of slavery; white slavery; forced labor; sex trafficking, labor trafficking, trafficking in persons; and trafficking in women and children. Whatever the term, the exploitation and abuse of victims in forced labor and the sex trade have sadly continued. But in the modern era, there are new tools for lawyers who wish to take up this cause to bring traffickers to justice and assist their victims.