A few excerpts from the thread (I recommend reading it in full):
The initial plea:
My friend and former student K arrived in DC yesterday, along with a friend. She came over on some kind of travel exchange program put together by a Russian travel agency ... The program promised a job offer in advance, but didn't deliver. ... Her contact in the USA ... has asked her and her friend to meet in NYC tonight around midnight, with promises of hostess work in a lounge. Yes, I know how horrific that sounds- that's why I am working all possible angles here.The thread is then quickly filled with responses, such as this:
The Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-###-#### ... Please, even if they insist on going to New York, ask them to reach out to the hotline. ... And add me to the list of DCers who can help out if you need anything on the ground.There are scores of helpful posts, with MetaFilter users doing everything from tracking down the address of the lounge in NYC (as well as its history and web presence), to calling dozens of anti-trafficking and support organizations in DC and NYC, to offers of support for the original poster (who was in the midst of a cross-country drive), and much, much more.
Ultimately, these two women were persuaded about the danger they faced, and returned to DC:
I just heard their voices on the phone. They are safe with one of us. Confirmed. Rejoicing.There's been a lot of hullabaloo in the past about how the Internet isolates people, leads us to shallow relationships and triviality (mostly discredited). In this instance, it seems the Internet also allows us to be bigger, and more capable together that we could possibly be alone.
And that is a very good thing.