Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains

Khaled abughoush


Khaled Abughoush is a junior studying Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences with a certificate in design. He is interested in production and supply chain and how we can use our knowledge to help combat human trafficking violations that take place overseas. He is an exec board member in the outreach team of the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal.


This research focuses on the relationship between companies operating in the United States (US) and the relationship that these companies hold with suppliers, factories and third-party companies outside the US that take apart in human trafficking. The Global Business and Human Rights Resource Centre will help us track the human rights policy and performance in over 180 countries. The human trafficking violations committed abroad will then help us see if there is a negative impact, and the extent of the impact, on US companies by examining their quarterly sales, operating income, and their stock performance. The findings of this research can help provide incentive for the private sector to influence the supply chain overseas from engaging in human trafficking and improving working conditions for laborers. 

It’s a part of the McCormick research grant that happens over the summer. If you really know you have an interest in a specific field then you can try and reach out to a professor and see if they’re willing to work with you. They can either have you work in their lab or on a topic of your interest. I knew my professor from a course that I took with her already, so I said “I’m really interested in working with you on the project.” It’s something I enjoy, I get the chance to work on supply chain data and we’re helping nonprofits. 

I think I have a better sense of what research actually means, because you can say research and it can mean some people going on the internet and looking stuff up, but it’s actually interacting with the material presented and building on top of that. It’s just you, your own tools, and your creativity to come up with a solution or a way to solve the problem. 

I would always say go for it. It’s a new experience, and you shouldn’t be afraid of trying new stuff. If you’re worried about failing, that shouldn’t be a concern because there are always faculty around that will put you on the right path and help you succeed.