Photo of Noelle Lemon

Noelle Lemon

  • Hosted by HIAS Pennsylvania
  • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University
  • Issue area Human Trafficking and Victim’s Rights Enforcement
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Crime Victims Justice Corps

The Project

Noelle worked with HIAS Pennsylvania’s Immigrant Youth Advocacy Initiative to provide services to human trafficking survivors including trauma-informed screening, referrals to critical support services, increased outreach to potential survivors, and direct legal representation of survivors in immigration matters. 

As the only program of its kind in the state, HIAS PA’s Immigrant Youth Advocacy Initiative (IYA) has served unaccompanied and other vulnerable youth across southeastern Pennsylvania for more than a decade. In recent years and in response to an overwhelming need, HIAS PA has increased their work under the IYA by 300%. The increase began in 2014, when the United States saw an unprecedented surge in unaccompanied children arriving at our borders to seek safe haven. Primarily from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – three of the world’s most dangerous places for young people – these youth often flee domestic violence, extreme deprivation and other abuses and seek to reunite with a trusted caregiver. Yet, alone and desperate, they are incredibly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation that can occur while traveling to or after arriving in the United States. In recent years the IYA initiative has seen an increase in the number of cases involving trafficked children.

Fellowship

During her fellowship Noelle pursued outreach that led to increased connections with, and referrals of, trafficked children who could benefit from HIAS PA’s services. Noelle’s outreach included community education and fostering partnerships with service providers and organizations that come into contact with vulnerable youth, including local schools. 

Noelle assumed the responsibility of conducting legal screenings to assess for trafficking history. By informing youth about their rights under the law and providing direct representation and referrals, Noelle empowered trafficking survivors to access services and legal relief that will help them build the safe and stable futures that every child deserves. 

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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