John Freeman

John Freeman serves as the Director of Law Enforcement Operations for the Human Trafficking Institute. He retired in July 2020 after 21 years with the Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State. He was the first DSS Human Trafficking Investigations Coordinator and represented both his bureau and department in formulating national policy, expanding interagency task forces, and developing specialized anti-trafficking training. In this role, he initiated investigations, including victim interviews, coordinated multi-leveled responses for high-visibility/highly sensitive cases, and supported numerous successful prosecutions. John worked on investigations with numerous international law enforcement partners from around the world, and in recent years, been called on by multiple anti-trafficking NGOs for his participation in seminars and conferences. This culminated when 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 in 2019. While serving as a Foreign Service special agent, he was posted to U.S. Embassies in Nigeria and South Korea, the DS representative to the Joint Terrorism Task Force – Seattle, Washington, and on Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s Protection Detail. John received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the State of New York – Excelsior College.

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Kelli Ross

Kelli Ross

Kelli serves as 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.