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Faculty and Administration Profiles

Katherine Kaufka Walts

Title/s:  Clinical Faculty of Law, Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children

Office #:  1039

Phone: 312.915.7541

Email: kkaufkawalts@luc.edu

CV Link: Kaufka Walts CV


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


Book Chapter, “Not Our Children”: The Othering of Migrant Children and the Concomitant Use of State-Sanctioned Violence through Immigration Law and Policy, Sarah J. Diaz, JD, LLM, and Lisa Jacobs, JD, Kaufka Walts, K., Kids in Cages: The History, Politics, and Lived Experience of Child Migrant Detention, NYU Press (forthcoming)


Perpetrators or Victims? The U.S. Response to the Forced Criminality of Children, August 2023, American Bar Association, Child Litigation Committee

2023  Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, An NGO Alternative Report for the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (June 2020), co-authored with Sarah Diaz, JD, LLM, and student, Lonita Benson, MA 
2022  Alexandra Junewicz, MD, Katherine Kaufka Walts, JD, & Ivy Sohn, JD, MD,” COVID-19 and youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation: A role for child mental health professionals during and in the aftermath of a pandemic" Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (March 2022). 
2021  Kaufka Walts, K. Frazier, P., Report for the UN Special Rapporteur’s Report on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, including its Causes and Consequences regarding the Role of Organized Criminal Groups, April 22, 2021 
2021  Frazier, P., Neal, C., Kaufka Walts, K. Recommendations to the U.S. State Department for the 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, (February 2021), emphasizing disproportionate impact of child trafficking on children of color in the US. 

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)


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)

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

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 (Fordham Press, 2016)
2016 Kaufka Walts, K. & Woltjen, M. (2016). An NGO response to the periodic report of the United States of America concerning the optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Chicago, IL: submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 
March 2016 Letter to Editor, Harper’s Magazine.
February 2016 The Child Soldier: Congo to Chicago” op-ed with Patricca, N., Windy City Times
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. 
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.
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) 
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 Walts, K. Kaufka, French, S., “Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking: An Illinois Case Study,” Handbook, April 2011 (cited by US Dept of Health and Human Services)
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, September 2006
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 Note: “The Commodification of Domestic Care: Illegitimacy of Care Work and the Exploitation of Migrant Workers” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Fall 2003