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Kevin M. Ryan
Kevin M. Ryan is the President and CEO of Covenant House International, the largest privately funded charity in the Americas specifically serving trafficked and homeless youth. Covenant House International reaches more than 50,000 at-risk and street youth annually across 6 countries. He is the co-author with former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley of the national bestseller Almost Home: Helping Kids From Homelessness to Hope (Wiley 2012). He is a former Skadden Fellow and Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School and served as New Jersey's first statewide Child Advocate and first Commissioner of Children and Families.

Entries by Kevin M. Ryan

The Hardest Speech I Ever Gave

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 10:49 AM


Last month, I joined the TEDxNavesink speakers series on makers, at Monmouth University. I looked back on the pain and resilience of three homeless teenagers I've befriended over the past two decades and shared how their lives taught me the meaning...

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Cheering a Contempt Case Against

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2016 | 8:09 AM

The controversy over's escort service ads and their link to child sex trafficking is traveling through the state and federal courts, the financial services industry, and the court of public opinion. It still amazes me that in 2016, a website can...

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Let's Study What Works Best for Homeless Youth

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 9:49 AM


As part of its laudable goal to end family, youth, and child homelessness by 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued national instructions in its funding announcements, prioritizing investments in rapid re-housing, putting homeless people in apartments...

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An Vote Tomorrow to Keep Kids Safe

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2016 | 11:35 AM

Homeless young people strive to remain invisible, knowing that if they look like they don't have a safe place to sleep at night, they can be exploited by the forces of the street -- pimps, thieves, criminals who want to recruit them, violent people who want to harm them just...

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A Bright Spot in the Budget for Homeless Young People

(2) Comments | Posted December 17, 2015 | 11:09 PM

The holidays hit homeless youth hard. Everywhere they look, people are spending money, showing loved ones how much they care, heading home for big feasts. If you're a kid with no money, no loved ones, and no home, the songs piped into every store can sting.

So at

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A Bill of Rights for Foster Children

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 7:11 AM

When you've donated, volunteered, mentored, coached, fundraised and still the world remains full of homeless kids, you have one move: Do more. To that end, I often think about what it would take to turn off the faucets upstream, to work toward reducing the flow of young people to the...

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Partners in a Commitment to End Global Distress

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 1:34 PM


Last month, the United Nations released new Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are lofty: seeking to end poverty and hunger and to provide education for all.

Last night in New York City I was honored and humbled to represent

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A Pimp's Ad, Direct to Our Kids

(2) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 8:23 AM

It is hard enough to be a homeless young person, pulling yourself off the streets, without criminals luring you in the other direction, attempting to sexually exploit you in exchange for affordable rent.

Thankfully, one low-life who tried this has been caught advertising directly to Covenant House...

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Amnesty International: Please Protect the Most Vulnerable in Your Trafficking Debate

(2) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 5:40 PM

Should prostitution be decriminalized? Few questions attract such heated debate, and few are as likely to divide people and organizations that believe they are championing the best interests of vulnerable people. In the next few days our colleague in human rights work, Amnesty International, will be tackling this

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Funding Anti-Trafficking Efforts Must Be A Priority

(2) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 5:42 PM

NOTE: Today the Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola University and Covenant House New Orleans are releasing their new study, "Human Trafficking and Exploitative Labor Among Homeless Youth in New Orleans." It quantifies what we have seen for years, a direct pipeline from homelessness to sexual...

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Creating a Haven for Young Trafficking Victims in Toronto

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 1:29 PM

We at Covenant House worked closely with the two young survivors at the heart of Toronto's first criminal prosecution to lead to a sex trafficking conviction. Working with these young people fueled our determination to expand our efforts to help youth escape the chains of modern trafficking.

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An Open Letter to a Rising Star

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 12:50 PM


Dear Anderson,

As I watched you bring down the house with your American Idol audition, aired last night, there were so many things I wanted to tell you. While J Lo wiped away her tears on national television, and I did...

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Where Ben Can Be Himself

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 3:34 PM


This Thursday night in the heart of Times Square, I will stand with thousands of advocates, activists and homeless youth for Covenant House's annual candlelight vigil. And one of the faces in the crowd with me will belong to Ben, holding...

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Homeless Kids Need This Stronger Law

(2) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 4:26 PM


Here are some maddening figures to chew on: according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, about 550,000 unaccompanied youth spend more than a week homeless each year, yet fewer than 10 percent are served by homeless youth programs, and there...

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Is Liable?

(5) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 12:34 PM

A case making its way through the courts in Washington State holds high stakes for trafficked children who have been waging a steep uphill battle against corporate behemoth for years. Three Washington State girls, seventh and ninth graders, are fighting back against the website that advertised them multiple times...

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Counting Homeless Kids, the Right Way

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 11:53 AM


Homeless kids count. And they need to be counted accurately. So I am encouraged that Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced legislation yesterday [7/24] to fix a long-standing injustice in the way our nation counts homeless kids, that...

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Senate: Please Pass These Anti-Trafficking Laws

(4) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 5:55 PM

Homelessness makes kids particularly vulnerable to being lured or kidnapped by pimps -- if you don't have a safe place to stay, and you don't have grownups who are watching out for your well-being, your odds of being trafficked grow greatly. At Covenant House, the hemisphere's...

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Recruiting Lawyers to Help Trafficking Survivors

(1) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 11:57 AM

With the passage of New Jersey's exemplary new law to fight human trafficking, state officials expect great growth in the need for lawyers to represent survivors. So Assistant Attorney General Tracy Thompson joined with the head of a survivors advocacy group to train more than two dozen attorneys...

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Homeless Kids Hurt by For-Profit Colleges

(6) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:15 PM


After she had experienced a bout of homelessness, Satrice T. attended a for-profit college in Newark, NJ in 2008, studying to be a medical assistant. She felt very engaged in school, enjoyed learning about the medical world, and did well in her seven...

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Combatting Human Slavery at the United Nations

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 4:39 PM


As we gathered at the United Nations earlier this month, I felt the emergence of a movement. Advocates and activists convened for "Combatting Slavery in the 21st Century," determined to shine a light on the forced sexual exploitation and forced labor...

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