West Chester's Carol Metzker Fights to End Human Trafficking
As the Rotary Club of West Chester Downtown’s charter president, Metzker is fighting a worldwide conflict on all fronts.
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For Carol Metzker, there are many things that explain her passion for alleviating human trafficking and sex slavery, especially among children—something she calls the world’s dirtiest secret. There’s her dream about meeting Mahatma Gandhi a month before a pivotal trip to India. Somewhere in a poor neighborhood, the two were playing basketball in a driveway. Neither could shoot well, so they sat on wooden crates under an abandoned concrete carport and talked instead. Gandhi, that nation’s long-deceased iconic leader, leaned toward Metzker, looked her in the eye and said, “Thank you for taking care of my people.”
Then there are some actual memories. In 1991, Metzker and her 2-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, were in a play area behind their 18th-century Quaker meetinghouse in Newtown Square when a friend, Ceal, told of her adopted son’s life in an orphanage in India: During a bedtime story, 5-year-old Jake told Ceal that other kids had described she and her husband, Pete, as slaveholders—that they’d come to get him so he’d become a slave in America.
When Kevin Bales, one of the world’s authorities on modern-day slavery, offered a seminar at the Westtown School, Metzker was front-and-center. A fellow Quaker, she connected with Bales and the other co-founders of Free the Slaves, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit aimed at ending slavery—in essence, finishing the job abolitionists began centuries ago.