Legal Services Assessment for Trafficked Children

By: Center for the Human Rights of Children. Published by: Loyola University Chicago. Published in August 2013

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This article assesses child trafficking victims’ legal needs.

Highlights include:

  • “Child trafficking victims have various legal needs across multiple legal systems, including (but not limited to) criminal justice, juvenile justice, immigration, labor, civil, child welfare, family, and education. While 85% of survey respondents believed access to competent legal services is critical in leading to positive outcomes for child trafficking victims, less than 10% believed that the legal needs of child trafficking victims in Cook County were being fully met.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration between legal and nonlegal service providers is a critical component of any service delivery model for trafficking victims.
  • There are considerable systemic barriers to ensuring that child trafficking victims receive appropriate legal services and protections, including limited organizational capacity and training, financial and personnel resources, and lack of data and research
  • The definition of child trafficking is confusing and sometimes controversial. Many child serving agencies are not aware of federal and/or state definitions of child trafficking. Some organizations have misconceptions about the legal statutory framework, or believe it negatively impacts their clients. This impacts identification of new cases and referrals to appropriate legal service providers.
  • Child trafficking cases are often very complex and resource intensive. Providing services is becoming more challenging with the narrowing of both federal and state budgets, restricting access to critical services across all sectors.
  • Service providers who first identify children as victims may not be equipped to identify all relevant needs (e.g., legal, psychological, social). This is true even amongst legal service providers who may specialize in a particular area of the law, and are unable to identify other legal needs.
  • There are no standardized mechanisms for data collection and research. Only a few organizations have begun to collect data on child trafficking. Existing data on human trafficking often does not disaggregate adults from minors.” (p. 4-5)

Categories: Children, Family, Human Trafficking, Individual Rights, Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Migrants/Immigrants, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics, State-Specific, Victims of Crime

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