Katherine Kaufka Walts

Title/s:  Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children
Lecturer in the School of Law at Loyola University Chicago

Office #:  1039



Katherine Kaufka Walts is the Director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago. The Center represents, coordinates, and stimulates efforts of the Loyola University community to understand and protect the human rights of children utilizing an interdisciplinary approach.

Prior to joining Loyola, Professor Kaufka Walts served as the Executive Director of the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA). At IOFA she developed several projects in the U.S. and abroad advancing the rights of children and youth, including a program to develop the capacity of the child welfare system to better respond to child trafficking and exploitation cases. Prior to IOFA, Professor Kaufka Walts managed the Counter-Human Trafficking project at the National Immigrant Justice Center, where she worked with several local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on single and multiple-victim sex and labor trafficking cases. She successfully represented dozens of victims of human trafficking in the United States within immigration and criminal justice proceedings under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Professor Kaufka Walts has provided expert testimony to local, national, and international governmental bodies. Professor Kaufka Walts continues to provide technical assistance, training, and consultation to law enforcement, service providers, task forces and coalitions, government agencies, federal and local law enforcement, and media in the U.S. and internationally on the subject of human trafficking. Her international work includes project development, training, and consultation in the Dominican Republic, Latvia, Ethiopia, and Kosovo.


BA, BS, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
JD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Program Areas

Human Trafficking, Immigration Law, International Human Rights

Professional & Community Affiliations

American Bar Association (ABA) Victims of Crime Task Force (2020-Present, appointment)

DREAMer Committee, Loyola University Chicago (2016-Present, appointment)

GirlForward, Board of Directors (2017-2019)

Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance (OVC-TTAC) Consultant (2009-present)

National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center (NHTTAC), Consultant (2012-Present)

National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Human Trafficking Advisory Board Member (2015-2017)

American Bar Association, Commission on Youth at Risk (2012-2015, appointment)

American Bar Association, President’s Human Trafficking Task Force (2013-2014, appointment)

Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council for Women (Mayoral Appointee 1999-2001, 2004-2005)

Chicago Foundation for Women Allocations Committee (2006-2008)

Courses Taught

  • Human Trafficking: Special Issues Concerning Children
  • Immigration Detention Project
  • Immigration Law Practicum
  • International Human Rights Law


Honorary Inductee, Alpha Sigma Nu, Loyola University Chicago, 2020

Cook County State’s Attorney Community Service Award, 2012

Selected Publications


Betraying Children’s Rights: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the United States, book chapter, “Unaccompanied Minor Children: Social, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives" edited by Hille Haker and Molly Greening, Rowman & Littlefield (2018). https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498574532/Unaccompanied-Migrant-Children-Social-Legal-and-Ethical-Perspectives 


“Immigration Policy, Practices, and Procedures: The Impact on the Mental Health of Mexican and Central American Youth and Families,” Torres, S., Santiago, C., Kaufka Walts, K., Richards, M., American Psychological Association (2018), available at http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-09040-001

July 2017

Kaufka Walts, K., “The Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children and Child Exploitation and Trafficking in the United States: A Tool for Immigration Attorneys Representing Victims of Child Exploitation.” Immigration Briefings. Thompson Reuters, (July, 2017)


Kaufka Walts, K. (2017) Child labor trafficking in the United States: A hidden crime. Social Inclusion. Available at https://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/chrc/pdfs/Child%20Labor%20Trafficking%20in%20the%20U.S..pdf

2016 Klaf, S., Kaufka Walts, K., “From Research to Action: Jesuit Institutional Practices in Response to Undocumented Students,” chapter 7, In: College and Undocumented: Student Experiences and Institutional Responses in a Climate of National Hostility (In Press – Fordham Press, 2016)
March 2016 Letter to Editor, Harper’s Magazine. Seehttp://harpers.org/archive/2016/03/letters-843/
February 2016 “The Child Soldier: Congo to Chicago” op-ed with Patricca, N., Windy City Times, See http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/The-Child-Soldier-From-the-Congo-to-Chicago/54166.html
July 2014 Interview on humanitarian crisis of children at the southern US border, FOX 32 News Chicago,  July 2014
July 2014 Deprez, Esme E. "Send Them Home. Save Their Lives. Jail Their Mayors. 9 Child-Migrant SolutionsBloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 15 July 2014. Quoted.
July 2014 Fox 32 News, Chicago, IL, "Heated Immigration Debate Continues" (2014), Interview
April 2014 "Children of the World: How Can We Help Refugee Children?", Radio Islam, Guest
January 2014 Featured in US Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, “Faces of Human Trafficking” Public Service Announcement video series, child trafficking expert. See http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/humantrafficking/publicawareness.html
Oct. 2013 Legal Services Assessment for Trafficked Children: A Cook County Case Study” (2013), Kaufka Walts, K., Riechmann, L., Lee, C.
April 2012 Alternative Report to the Periodic Report of the United States government to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Concerning the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Sale of Children, Prostitution, and Pornography, with the Young Center on Immigrant Children’s Rights. Submitted to UNHCR April 2012. Click here for report.
2012 Walts, K. Kaufka, “Understanding Child Trafficking in the United States: A Review of Current Policies, Research, and Issues Facing Survivors” (book chapter), Victims of Crime, 4th Edition, Edited by A. Lurigio and J.S. Carroll , Sage Publications. (2012) To order the book, click here.
Summer 2012 "Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking: An Illinois Case Study,” Illinois Child Welfare Journal
Jan. 2012 "Child Trafficking in the United States, An Introduction,” Section of Litigation Children's Rights Litigation Committee Online Newsletter, American Bar Association
April 2011 “Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking,” Click here for the report.
Sept. 2008 WCEV’s Radio Islam, program on sex trafficking, Chicago, Illinois
Feb. 12, 2007 WGN Radio, Chicago, IL “Human Trafficking and Slavery,” Guest
Sept. 2006 “The T Nonimmigrant Visa and Protection and Relief for Victims of Human Trafficking, A Practitioner’s Guide” Immigration Briefings
May 2006 Quoted in Marie Claire magazine, feature story on human trafficking and slavery
March 3, 2006 Sex, Honor and Shame: Chicago Responds to Trafficking, Chicago NPR Worldview, Guest
Fall 2003 “The Commodification of Domestic Care: Illegitimacy of Care Work and the Exploitation of Migrant Workers” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal