An eight-year analysis of child labor trafficking cases in the United States: Exploring characteristics, and patterns of child labor trafficking

Nthabiseng Claudia Letsie, Bandak Lul, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Child labor trafficking in the U.S. has proven to be difficult to research and very little is known about the scope, severity, or common characteristics of child labor trafficking situations. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore if child labor trafficking exists in the U.S. through investigating the labor trafficking cases filed from 2011 to 2018. Once identified, the contributing vulnerability factors and case outcomes were analyzed to build new knowledge about child labor trafficking in the U.S. Participants and settings: This study explores 34 cross-section child labor trafficking criminal cases in the U.S. resulting in 52 child labor trafficking victims being identified. Methods: Cross sectional child labor trafficking case data collected through online searches were analyzed and described. Results: The majority of the cases (73.5%, n = 25) were child labor trafficking only while 26.5% (n = 9) were both sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Fifty-eight percent of the victims were children from countries outside of the U.S. Victims in more than half of the cases (n = 18) identified their relationship with their traffickers as “friendly strangers/acquaintances”. Techniques for recruitment and retention used by the child labor traffickers included psychological, physical, and sexual violence along with offering shelter to the victims. Conclusions: Recommendations include the need to increase research and awareness about child labor trafficking in the United States, to develop and implement civil child protection, and to improve child victim benefits and compensation in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105265
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume121
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Child labor trafficking
  • Human trafficking
  • Labor trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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