Legal Services Assessment for Child Trafficking Survivors
Cook County Case Study
Child trafficking is one of the most disturbing human rights abuses of our time, involving cases of boys and girls trafficked into, and within, the United States, for labor or commercial sexual services. It is estimated that thousands of children are trafficked within the United States each year. These children suffer physical, sexual, and emotional violence at the hands of traffickers, pimps, employers, and others. Much of the current response to human trafficking in the United States has addressed survivors as one homogenous group, without allowing for the special needs of children. The most recent systemic efforts to respond to the plight of child trafficking in the U.S. have focused primarily on two areas: 1) The criminal justice response, including punishment of traffickers and addressing the "demand" side of sex trafficking, and 2) Addressing the dearth of social services available to children, especially counseling, mental health, and housing. While current research indicates that legal services are a critical component of a comprehensive service delivery model, little to no efforts have been made to identify, with any specificity to actual populations, the various legal needs of child trafficking victims, the roles that legal service providers play in identifying new cases, the relationship between legal services and access to appropriate social services and protections, and existing gaps in the provision of legal services and advocacy to survivors of child trafficking in the United States.
The Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) seeks to better understand and positively impact the role of legal services and advocacy in both identifying new cases and improving outcomes for child survivors of labor and sex trafficking in the United States, including both United States citizens and non-citizens. Toward this end, the CHRC is currently collaborating with consultant Linda M. Rio Reichmann and student volunteers to identify existing service providers working with child trafficking survivors, the legal needs of these children, any current legal services, and gaps in those services.
For more information on this project, please view the brief project description of the Legal Services Assessment for Child Trafficking Survivors.