John Freeman

Director of Law Enforcement OperationsAt HTI, John is responsible for all aspects of HTI activities related to law enforcement. He directs efforts to build, enhance, and sustain specialized investigators wherever HTI has impact and beyond. He manages focused training and mentoring for partners and facilitates cooperative efforts across a wide spectrum. John, a retired special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service – U.S. Department of State, rose through domestic and international postings culminating as the first DSS Human Trafficking Investigations Coordinator. He represented both his bureau and department in formulating national policy, expanding interagency task forces, and developing specialized anti-trafficking training. He simultaneously directed HT investigations, including victim interviews, coordinated multi-leveled responses for highly visible, highly sensitive cases, and supported numerous successful federal prosecutions. In 2019, he was named as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the annual United Nations Convention Against Transnational Crime’s (UNTOC) Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. Prior to his federal service, John was a U.S. Army paratrooper for eight years, and earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of the State of New York – Excelsior College in 1997. Click here to download a full bio.

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Kelli Ross

Kelli is the former Chief of Staff and Director of Communications at the Human Trafficking Institute. Her background is in journalism, public relations and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Communications Officer / Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Washington, D.C., directly supporting the Bureau’s Assistant Secretary; as director of communications for microfinance organization Five Talents in Vienna, Virginia; and as business reporter at The Jackson (TN) Sun. She has worked and studied in Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, India, Peru, and Israel. Kelli holds a BA in communication arts from Union University and an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.