- Trafficking in Women and Children for purposes of Sexual Exploitation in the Americas (2000 – 2002)
- Trafficking Conferences (2003 – 2005)
- Sex Tourism Opposition and Prevention (2004 – 2006)
IHRLI partnered with the Inter-American Commission of Women and the Inter-American Children’s Institute of the Organization of American States to examine the trafficking of women and children for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation in the Americas. The project involved close cooperation between IHRLI with partner NGOs in Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. In each country, IHRLI staff and local partners reviewed media reports, prepared legal analyses and conducted field investigations using a specialized questionnaire to explore the social, legal, economic and political factors contributing to the problem of sex trafficking. IHRLI published the comparative and regional results of its investigation in a report in English, In Modern Bondage: Sex Trafficking in the Americas, and Spanish, Esclavitud Moderna: Tráfíco Sexual en las Américas. The Institute also arranged for the commercial publication of full-text versions of the eight Central American and Caribbean national reports under the title, In Modern Bondage (Guinn and Steglich, Eds., Transnational Publishers, 2003). Separately, the Institute’s Brazilian NGO partner, CECRIA (Centro de Referência, Estudos E Ações Sobre Crianças E Adolescentes) published the results of its national study.
Building on the trafficking research in Latin America and the Caribbean, IHRLI continued its work on sex trafficking with two conferences in Chicago in 2003 and 2005: "Demand Dynamics" and "Pornography: Driving the Demand for Sex Trafficking". These events drew on the expertise of over seventy scholars and advocates. Conference panels and discussions focused on how demand is affected by sex-industry consumers, the organization of sex trafficking, and governmental policy.
In 2004, IHRLI supported a group of DePaul College of Law students in developing the Sex Tourism Opposition and Prevention (STOP) project that investigated sex tourism in Costa Rica and developed legal strategies to assist victims and prevent abuses. In March 2005, three STOP members—Sarah Diaz, Heena Musabji, and Jed Untereker—traveled to Costa Rica to conduct research and meet with local NGOs. Their work was funded by the Vincentian Endowment Fund of DePaul University.