Is human trafficking widespread in this country?

By Al Kamen June 13

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21 after signing a bill  that expands law enforcement tools to target sex traffickers and creates a new fund to help victims. (Susan Walsh/AP)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21 after signing a bill  that expands law enforcement tools to target sex traffickers and creates a new fund to help victims. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Back in 2008, Congress, trying to finally get a coherent estimate of the  human trafficking victims in this country, ordered the FBI to get data from state and local law enforcement agencies on offenses and arrests.

Getting an accurate count on the beaten, traumatized victims subjected to forced sex or labor has eluded researchers for years. At times, various government agencies have estimated that there were as many as 50,000 victims a year in this country. Then, in 2004, another estimate came in at about 14,500 to 17,500, and then lowered it to 1,362, our colleague Jerry Markon wrote in a lengthy article in 2007...