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Understanding Labor Trafficking of Children in U.S.

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Project Summary: 

While child labor trafficking exists in the United States, research on the problem is largely non-existent. There is a need for reliable information on the scope and impact of child labor trafficking. In this project, Professor Amy Farrell and her research team enhance our understanding of this problem with a multi-method study of child labor trafficking in the United States. The primary goals of this project are to explore the nature of child trafficking in the United States including the recruitment and experiences of victims, and understand the patterns of child trafficking crimes and their operations. The research also seeks to determine how child labor trafficking cases are identified and explore the challenges facing child serving agencies in identifying and responding to these cases.

Project Description: 

The research team is collecting data that will provide insight on the experiences of child labor trafficking victims, service needs of victims, how victims may come into contact with existing state services, and the degree to which existing services can assist victims. The research team is collecting data from four sites in the US where multiple child trafficking cases have been identified. At each site, the research team collects information from client case records on victim demographics, recruitment, exploitation, and perpetrators. Case record data is supplemented with interviews of victim service and legal providers, law enforcement, and child stakeholders to gain a broader picture of child labor trafficking victimization and the challenges in identifying the victim population. Case record data is also used to identify differences between US citizen and foreign national child labor trafficking victims. Interviews are being conducted with child labor trafficking survivors to understand their experiences and needs.


Research is being funded by the National Institute of Justice and conducted in partnership with New York University and the University of Loyola School of Law. A team of doctoral and masters students work with Professor Farrell on this project.

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