Photo of Laura Herman

Lauren Herman

  • Hosted by Make the Road New Jersey
  • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime
  • Service location Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Human Trafficking and Victim’s Rights Enforcement
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Crime Victims Justice Corps

The Project

Elizabeth, New Jersey is a port of entry to the United States for multitudes of immigrants each year due to the city’s proximity to Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City, along with its international shipping port and industrial hub. New Jerseys’ fourth largest city, Elizabeth also is home to approximately 130,000 residents; nearly half of whom are foreign born.  Because of its sizeable immigrant population and location, Elizabeth is the backdrop against which traffickers use force, fraud, and coercion to exploit non-citizens for labor. This Fellowship project will provide legal services to non-citizen victims of trafficking.

Through this Fellowship at Make the Road NJ (MRNJ), Lauren will help screen and identify non-citizen trafficking and crime victims, work to empower these individuals, and obtain immigration relief and protection from deportation, ultimately securing for them a more stable future in the United States.  Lauren will also work with survivors where necessary to fight wage and hour, employment discrimination, and other workplace related cases. MRNJ is the only legal services provider in Elizabeth and Passaic that combines high-quality legal service provision with transformative education, broad based advocacy, and community support. Through outreach and education, Lauren will build on MRNJ’s existing legal services and community projects to integrate and expand representation and advocacy for trafficking survivors. Lauren’s project will work to educate both impacted community members and other key stakeholders of the rights and needs of trafficking survivors and the resources available to them.  Additionally, Lauren will work to educate law enforcement and other service providers regarding trauma-informed practices and culturally competent service provision.

Fellowship Plans

In the first six months of her Fellowship, Lauren plans to build partnerships with other community based organizations, legal and social service providers who work with trafficking survivors to develop a strong referral network. Additionally, she will develop strong screening tools and conduct know your rights trainings within the community to raise awareness about the prevalence of trafficking and begin to identify clients for representation. Lauren has a strong background in immigrant rights and she is committed to providing client-centered holistic legal representation to survivors of trafficking.

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