She was formerly an advisor on humanitarian protection at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and advised the U.S. bishops' conference on refugee policy and coordinated anti-trafficking efforts for the conference.
On Wednesday, she emphasized the need for the U.S. to work more closely with faith-based aid groups that are working with local actors on the ground around the world.
She noted that "considering the deep presence and trust of grassroot Catholic organizations within vulnerable communities, there has been a concerted effort to build their capacity," and that "Organizations such as ICMC, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Caritas International to name a few-have provided both organizational and technical assistance to enhance the response of local actors."
Smith noted the "long-standing" work of faith-based groups around the world "providing an enormous amount of support for people who have been horribly mistreated."
He said he had witnessed faith play a critical role in the recovery process for trafficking survivors.
"I have actually been in trafficking shelters all over the world," he said, "but I was struck … how women who had been so horribly mistreated and raped and assaulted, it was their faith and the nourishment that came from that, the sense of reconciliation, that was helping them to get their lives back together."
Konglim vouched for the work of faith-based groups in fighting trafficking. "If they can serve, they will serve," she said, noting the work done by Vatican conferences on trafficking prevention which gathered actors from all over the globe.
In February 2018, the Vatican hosted a conference on human trafficking with Church leaders and law enforcement officers from more than 30 countries.
Trafficking survivors need "holistic," long-term assistance to get back on their feet, such as shelter and vocational training, she said, and faith-based groups "are looking at the holistic restoration of the person, and they do their best to serve them from beginning to end."
These groups also have a global network to help better reunify trafficking survivors with their families on other continents.
Asked by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of the state of trafficking in the U.S., Konglim said that her group, through the USCCB, has observed, "there is definitely a challenge with labor trafficking, and how that's being recognized."
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"Irregular migration does impact the occurrence of the trafficking, and that migrant populations are more vulnerable," she said. "And so we are definitely concerned with there being increased border screening, to ensure that people that are coming in are not victims of trafficking, and if they are, they are receiving the appropriate services that they deserve."