Advancing and protecting the rights of children

The Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) is an interdisciplinary center committed to protecting and advancing the human rights of children. Guided by the belief that children’s rights are human rights, the CHRC is engaged in research, scholarship, advocacy, and outreach programs to address critical issues affecting the lives of children. The CHRC strives to honor and advance the principles derived from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and believes that a child’s survival and healthy future is dependent on family, community, civil society, and government working toward a shared vision that protects their fundamental rights.

Child Trafficking

The CHRC engages in a number of activities to address the distinct needs of children who are trafficked, to prevent child trafficking, and to respond to survivors of child trafficking, in an effort to ensure their dignity and rights are protected. Much of the current response to human trafficking has addressed survivors as one homogenous group, without consideration for the special needs of children. Our work at the CHRC includes research, outreach and education, training and consultation, capacity building, advocacy, and systems change. Through this work we often collaborate with a continuously-expanding network of individuals and organizations on a number of different projects both in the US and abroad. Finally, we teach a graduate level interdisciplinary course on child trafficking and exploitation in order to cultivate the next generation of experts and professionals responding to this issue.

Environmental Toxins and Children

There is an intimate association between the physical world in which children live and the quality of their lives. Their housing, the water that they drink, the air that they breathe, and the quality of their schools and neighborhoods each have an impact on children's health, happiness, and long-term development. And because children are still developing, they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental hazards and toxins. As such, the CHRC is focused on efforts to advance children’s rights to equal protection from environmental hazards, access and influence in environmental decision-making, and the right to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, work, and play. In response to the risks that indoor toxic hazards pose to children and families’ health, the CHRC had joined a community collaborative to develop a health-focused approach to Chicago’s home inspection to ensure that all Chicagoans, especially vulnerable children, live in safe, healthy, and affordable housing.

Child Migration

The CHRC stimulates efforts to understand, protect, and apply the rights of children both in the United States and around the world. Currently, there is a humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children migrating alone to the U.S. These children are often fleeing violence, abuse, conflict, neglect, and poverty. Relatedly, in developing countries, drought, disease, and political conflict have created increasingly larger populations of social and parentless youth. Current efforts to assist and understand orphan youth often focus on children, with adolescents navigating systems and transitioning into adulthood without the proper resources or support, facing immense challenges and risks. We are working to resolve these issues via an active agenda of interdisciplinary research and scholarship, advocacy, outreach, and service. Other global activities include faculty and student research fellowships, immersion programs, and project development designed to address critical and contemporary children’s rights issues across the globe.

In the news

Advocating for Migrant Child Rights Before the UN

CHRC submits report on abuses and human rights violations against children committed by the Trump Administration to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

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Environmental Toxins and Children’s Rights

Children suffer human rights abuses disproportionately due to their age and developmental capacity. Read the CHRC's latest report on environmental toxins and children's rights

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Advocating for Child Labor Trafficking Rights Before the UN

CHRC submits report and recommendations on child labor trafficking and forced criminality to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery

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