Photo of Laura Herman

Lauren Herman

  • Hosted by Make the Road New Jersey/Center for Popular Democracy
  • 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 provided legal services to non-citizen victims of trafficking. 

Through this Fellowship at Make the Road NJ (MRNJ), Lauren helped screen and identify non-citizen trafficking and crime victims, worked to empower these individuals, and obtained immigration relief and protection from deportation, ultimately securing for them a more stable future in the United States.  Lauren also worked with survivors where necessary to fight wage and hour theft, 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 built on MRNJ’s existing legal services and community projects to integrate and expand representation and advocacy for trafficking survivors. Lauren’s project worked 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 worked to educate law enforcement and other service providers regarding trauma-informed practices and culturally competent service provision. 

Fellowship

In the first six months of her Fellowship, Lauren built partnerships with other community based organizations, legal and social service providers who work with trafficking survivors to develop a strong referral network. Additionally, she developed strong screening tools and conducted know your rights trainings within the community to raise awareness about the prevalence of trafficking and 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. 

Meet Other Fellows Like Lauren

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Stephanie Martinez

Host: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime

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Sarah Summers

Host: Colorado Legal Services

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime

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Rebeca Garcia Gil

Host: University of Maryland SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime

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Angela Martinez-Alvarado

Host: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime