Child trafficking is one of the most disturbing human rights abuses of our time, involving cases of boys and girls exploited for labor and/or commercial sexual services. These children may suffer physical, sexual, and emotional violence at the hands of traffickers, who can be pimps, employers, and even family members. Trafficking schemes may involve various forms of force, fraud, and coercion, which can be physical and/or psychological in nature. Current research indicates that legal services are a critical component of a comprehensive service delivery model for victims of human trafficking and a realization of human rights. However, little to no effort has been made to identify the various legal needs of child trafficking victims, a particularly vulnerable population. In February 2012, the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) initiated a legal needs assessment project for child trafficking victims, using Cook County Illinois as a case study. The project identified: •Existing service providers working with both US citizen and foreign national child trafficking survivors •The legal needs of trafficked children •Current legal services available to this population •Gaps in those services in Cook County We chose Cook County as a case study for several reasons. It is the second most populous county in the nation, and houses the city of Chicago, which has been recognized as one several human trafficking hubs across the United States. Cook County has an established community of service providers and advocacy organizations working with survivors of human trafficking in various capacities, and two task forces. The project also included a preliminary assessment of legal services for child trafficking victims offered by organizations around the country as a comparison to the results of our research in Cook County.
Kaufka Walts, Katherine JD; Rio Reichmann, Linda JD; and Lee, Catherine MA, "Legal Services Assessment for Trafficked Children- Cook County, Illinois Case Study" (2013). Center for the Human Rights of Children. 6.
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