Crystal’s Story – Seeing Labor Trafficking in Household Settings

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This is the trafficking experience of Crystal. In this case study, a provider recognizes indicators of labor trafficking. He then seeks to gain an understanding of the situation while prioritizing the client’s needs. Use this activity to practice naming red flags and techniques in provider response such as validation, open-ended questions, monitoring body language, reflective statements, and providing education.

Further Considerations:

  • What additional information you might need or want from Crystal.
  • What are some ways this trafficking story overlaps with other child protection violations?
  • Empower clients by informing them about the protections and limitations of confidentiality. This case study involved three minors.

What red flags were present in this story?

  • Ran away from home
  • Previously shared her mother was abusive
  • 15-year-old with a large amount of work experience
  • “Did all of the work or mother would be ‘mad.’”
  • Requirement to provide domestic work, child care, lawn care, and maid services under threat of physical abuse, emotional abuse, and isolation.
  • Kept locked in her room or hit if she refused to do work
  • “Never allowed to hang out with friends.”
  • Kept home from school to do work


  • Parents have more exceptions than other family members or non-relatives but are still accountable to laws on child labor, neglect, and abuse
  • Parents may not require “excessive” chores from their children
  • Household chores cannot impact school attendance, health, or wellbeing
  • Chores must be age-appropriate and minors cannot use hazardous equipment or materials
  • Leaving children alone or under the care of other minors may be a form of neglect
  • Labor trafficking does not only occur in typical workplace environments

As always, contact us with your questions, comments, or ideas by emailing

Here you will find more information on child labor laws.

Click here to learn more about child abuse and neglect laws across states.

Topic(s): Learning Basics, Service Delivery
Resource Type: Educational Video
Date: October 16, 2020
Language(s): English
Author(s): Framework