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Understanding the Trafficking of Children for the Purposes of Labor in the United States

The exploitation of children who are working in the United States is a critical social issue. While recent public attention has been directed toward labor abuses of migrant children, there is strong evidence that labor trafficking impacts a wide range of children who ...

Published onApr 19, 2024
Understanding the Trafficking of Children for the Purposes of Labor in the United States
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Abstract

The exploitation of children who are working in the United States is a critical social issue. While recent public attention has been directed toward labor abuses of migrant children, there is strong evidence that labor trafficking impacts a wide range of children who experience individual and structural vulnerabilities. Despite public concern about the exploitation and labor trafficking of children, we lack detailed information about what young people are exploited for labor, the contexts under which these abuses occur, and how to best meet the needs of these young survivors – both U.S. citizen and foreign-national. Utilizing data from 71 cases of child labor trafficking either prosecuted by U.S. officials (36) or served by legal advocacy agencies in four U.S. sites (35). Across these cases information was coded for 132 child labor trafficking victims and 145 child labor trafficking perpetrators. Case data was supplemented with in-depth interviews with legal advocates, victim service providers, child welfare, law enforcement and other government officials, as well as adult child labor trafficking survivors, this study fills important gaps in our knowledge.

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