As a critical part of our mission, the CHRC looks to involve others who are passionate about advancing efforts to understand, protect, and apply the human rights of children. We invite students, faculty, and staff from Loyola and surrounding universities to become involved with research projects, events, and other initiatives. The CHRC also frequently offers fellowship and internship opportunities, to support various endeavors in this field.

Course Offerings

Immigration Practicum – Advancing International Human Rights Protections

Immigration Practicum – Advancing International Human Rights Protections (Law 470 – 4 LCE credits)

Immigration law is one of the most complex, dynamic, and rewarding areas of practice. At the same time, in the practice of immigration, we witness some of the United States’ most egregious human rights abuses (from indefinite detention to family separation). While immigration and human rights are often viewed as specialized fields that rarely connect to other public interest areas of law, including child and family law, poverty law, housing, education, health, and criminal justice; the disciplines are all, in fact, intersecting and bear upon the ability of both documented and undocumented to people to exercise their rights. The goal of this course is to teach the current realities of immigration law as experienced in practice, to understand immigration in the larger human rights paradigm, and to show how it intersects with other fields of public interest law in the pursuit of social justice. Substantive topics include family immigration, protection for persons fleeing persecution, unaccompanied children, crimmigration, the right to life and US border policy, and abolitionist theory. Practical topics include providing trauma-informed services, affidavit drafting, brief writing, and a class on abolition in the context of immigration.

  • Students will receive 2 LCE credits for participation in the seminar component which includes working on immigration and asylum cases in connection with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). Students will develop affidavits, evidence, country conditions, and trial briefs in support of NIJC clients under faculty supervision.
  • An additional 2 LCE credits are offered for the weeklong service immersion trip to the US-Mexico border hosted during the week of spring break. These trips involve working alongside legal services providers on the US-Mexico border on behalf of detained immigrants. Learn More.

Human Trafficking Practicum– Advancing Protections for Children

Human Trafficking Seminar & Practicum– Advancing Protections for Children (NEW!)

(Law 249; Sections 001 - 002)
Fall 2022
Loyola University Chicago

Section 001 (2 credits) – Human trafficking is one of the most egregious crimes that occurs both globally and domestically. While there have been improvements to both global and domestic responses to human trafficking, children who are compelled into forced labor and sexual exploitation continue to be the least identified cohort of survivors. This interactive and interdisciplinary seminar will explore the legal, social, and practical issues confronting children who are survivors of human trafficking, as well as an examination of efforts to prevent and intervene in this social problem. While the seminar will focus on unique issues affecting (international and US citizen) survivors of child trafficking, students will gain knowledge and skills that are applicable to other marginalized populations of children and youth, as well as adult trafficking survivors.

The seminar will begin with an overview of a history of anti-slavery statutes and case law to provide a foundation for contemporary international human rights and domestic laws addressing human trafficking. Students will be introduced to various frameworks, including criminal justice, public health, gender-based, human rights, and abolitionist, to combat human trafficking. Students will analyze current research in the field, and explore interventions utilized by both legal, social and public health providers. Assignment and exercises will include mock interviews, critical analysis of legislation, and a final project addressing ways to advance the movement to combat child trafficking in the United States. Scholars and practitioners in the field will provide occasional guest lectures.

Section 002 – (1-2 credits) The live client experience (LCE) component of this course is available for a select number of students who are interested in augmenting the seminar with experiential work (legal research, advocacy, policy, direct services) that intersects with child trafficking. This can include working on projects at the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC), or placement at an off-site organization providing legal services to human trafficking survivors. Applications for Section 002 are required, and student selection will depend on the number of positions available at selected external sites and CHRC. Participants will be selected by Katherine Kaufka Walts, Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children. While students with a demonstrated interest in this topic will be prioritized, no prior training or experience is required. 1 credit is equivalent to 55 hours of work.

Note: 1L students are not eligible for LCE credits.

Questions? Contact Katherine Kaufka Walts at kkaufkawalts@luc.edu.

International Human Rights

International Human Rights (Law 294 – 2 credits)

This course offers an introduction to the theory and practice of international human rights law. Through course readings and discussion, students will learn about international and domestic laws and institutions responsible for the creation and operation of the human rights regime. The course will examine sources of international human rights laws including treaties, customary international law, and domestic law. The course will evaluate international mechanisms involved in human rights protection including the United Nations, regional mechanisms (such as the Inter-American, European and African systems). In addition to legal theory, the course will help students understand the practice of human rights law with an eye toward understanding the place of the United States in the support of and adherence to human rights norms.

Refugee Law & Policy: Welcoming the Stranger

Refugee Law and Policy (Law 273 – 2 credits)

Refugee law is one of the most dynamic and rewarding areas of law. Nonetheless, in observing the administration of refugee law, we bear witness to some of the United States’ most egregious human rights abuses and the abandonment, in some cases, of the rule of law. The goal of this course is to teach students the history of the norm of non-refoulement and, in doing so, to understand how political, religious, racial and other minority groups are intended to be protected (from persecution, from torture, and from death). Students will learn the history of the Refugee Convention—for whom the document was written, and, consequently, who is left out of protection (considering for example the treatment of victims of private-sphere persecution or climate refugees). Students will learn the role of xenophobia, racism, and subjugation of the “other” in this case the “alien”-other in administering the rule of asylum law. The class will contain a comparative analysis of refugee law under various international and domestic systems. Finally, students will learn about the treatment of child asylum seekers in the United States—namely, the treatment of children as adults in miniature and the “othering” that facilitates this deviant practice.

This course is ambitiously designed to teach the contours of law through both an Ignatian lens and through the lens of anti-racism, often calling upon the tenets of abolition to understand a path forward. In doing so, this course employs extensive reading, not only from a course book, but from the lived experience (articles, observations, discussions with/of/by those seeking and offering protection in the United States) and vis-à-vis Catholic pedagogy (namely, by exploring the teachings of Pope Francis). The centerpiece of the Pontificate’s teachings concern embracing the foreigner, the migrant, and the refugee “other” in a radical call for protection and equitable treatment in all aspects of daily life.


Student Opportunities

CHRC Fellowship

The CHRC Legal Fellowship program is an academic internship opportunity with the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) for Loyola law students (2L-3L). This competitive scholarship program provides a Loyola University Chicago School of Law student with tuition remission for the academic year and an internship opportunity at the CHRC.   

The program provides an opportunity for students to be trained in interdisciplinary research and advocacy that promotes the human rights of children in CHRC’s core focus areas: trafficking and exploitation, immigration and climate impact. Fellows will become familiar with current children’s rights laws and policy and help

Recognizing that much of CHRC’s work involves advocacy, applied research, and outreach on behalf of racially and ethnically marginalized communities, the CHRC will give preference to candidates from the communities that CHRC seeks to serve and/or students with a clearly demonstrated commitment to the areas of child exploitation and trafficking, child migration, and climate impact on youth. To apply for the CHRC Fellowship, please submit a cover letter explaining your nexus to or commitment to communities in these areas of impact. Applications are due by May 25, 2023.  Interested applicants should send their cover letter and resume to CHRC Associate Director, Sarah Diaz, at sdiaz10@luc.edu.

Children’s Rights Legal Research and Policy Internships

The CHRC is seeking a part-time law student to assist with policy analysis and research addressing contemporary issues facing children in the United States and internationally, including child trafficking and issues facing child migrants. Duties and responsibilities will include working with the Center Director to analyze current and pending policies, identify and analyze research (legal and social science), respond to policies, legislation, develop briefs and other publications related to the issue. This internship is an excellent opportunity to work on an issue that has both national and international impact addressing the rights of trafficked children.

Application Deadline: TBD Spring 2022


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