Loyola University Chicago

Center for the Human Rights of Children

Child Trafficking and Exploitation

Human trafficking and exploitation represents one of the most serious assaults on human rights. The crime of compelled labor or services and/or commercial sexual exploitation violates the dignity of body, mind, and spirit. It is estimated that over 40 million people are trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation throughout the world, including the United States. These children suffer physical, sexual, and emotional violence at the hands of traffickers, pimps, employers, and others, while working in factories, restaurants, on farms, as peddlers, as domestic servants or other form of “care” work in people’s homes, in strip clubs and in the commercial sex trade, among other industries. In the US, child trafficking victims include both foreign nationals and US citizen boys and girls. Much of the current response to human trafficking has addressed survivors as one homogenous group, without allowing for the special needs of children. These children often fall through the cracks and do not receive the protections that they are afforded under international, federal, and state laws.

In response to this systemic crisis, the Center for the Human Rights of Children engages in a number of activities to elevate the distinct needs of children who are trafficked, to prevent child trafficking, and to respond to survivors of child trafficking, ensuring their dignity and rights are protected. Our work includes research, outreach and education, training and consultation, capacity building, advocacy, and systems change. In addition, we teach a graduate level, interdisciplinary course on child trafficking and exploitation, creating the next generation of experts and professionals to better respond to this human rights issue. We collaborate with a continuously-expanding network of individuals and organizations on a number of different projects both in the US and abroad. 

The following are subject matter areas the CHRC has developed expertise and knowledge related to child labor and/or sex trafficking in the US and abroad: the intersection of child welfare and child trafficking, interviewing children, identifying child trafficking, safe harbor laws, legal needs for child trafficking victims, child trafficking policies and practice, child trafficking and medical field/health systems, legal representation and advocacy for child trafficking victim, privacy and confidentiality in working with child trafficking survivors, research, children and trafficking task forces, and promising practices. Read more about our work in these areas below: