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Marissa Ram

2013, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Marissa Ram

Marissa Ram

Name of Host Organization: New York Legal Assistance Group's LGBTQ Law Project
City, State: Greater New York City Area, New York
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: AIG, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

The Project

Marissa provides direct representation, community education and policy advocacy to homeless and street-involved male youth and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and immigrant populations who are experiencing (or at-risk for) trafficking or exploitation in both the formal workplace and street-level informal survival economies.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Male youth and LGBTQ youth are largely overlooked in anti-trafficking initiatives. Those engaging in survival sex for food and shelter or experiencing labor exploitation often do not realize they may qualify for immigration relief, public benefits, or other legal remedies. In recent years, young men of color, immigrant youth, and transgender youth in low-income communities have been targeted through racial profiling and the policing of sex work under the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” program, driving victims of exploitation and trafficking underground and away from the legal services they are entitled to and need. Marissa’s project will expand New York Legal Assistance Group's LGBTQ Law Project to focus specifically on serving male youth and LGBTQ youth.