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Case Study: Labor Trafficking Identification - Crystal's Story

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2020

This video-assisted case study illustrates how a case of abusive parenting has characteristics of labor trafficking, and guidance is offered on the characteristics of victim counseling and law violations regarding abusive and excessive demands for children to do work for parents.


In this video, a service provider recognizes in Crystal’s experiences in interactions with her mother the characteristics of labor trafficking. The “red flags” for this diagnosis were running away from home; descriptions of her mother’s abusive behavior; her large amount of work experience for a 15-year-old; mother’s anger when Crystal’s work was not in the amount or quality her mother required; mother required domestic work, child care, lawn care, and maid services under the threat of physical/emotional abuse and isolation; was kept locked in her room or physically attacked if she refused to work; was never allowed to socialize with friends; and was kept home from school to do work. Considerations noted for Crystal’s counselor are additional information needed, how her situation overlaps with labor trafficking and other child protection violations, and empowering clients by informing them about the protections and limitations of confidentiality. This case study also notes that although parents have more exceptions than other family members or non-relatives in terms of how children are treated, they are still accountable under laws on child labor, neglect, and abuse.

Date Published: October 1, 2020