Lauren Hersh is an internationally recognized lawyer, activist, educator and writer working to combat violence against women and girls in schools, online and in the legal arena. Lauren's work to combat gender violence began at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted a wide range of cases impacting women and girls. Realizing that sex trafficking cases were going unrecognized, Lauren led the charge in 2009 to create one of the first Sex Trafficking Units in the United States. In recent years, amidst growing concern about sexual violence on college campuses, Lauren launched the Campus Gender Violence Initiative to provide legal representation to impacted students.
Lauren believes that lasting change requires legal reform and meaningful community engagement. As the Co-Chair of the New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition, Lauren led a movement to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act in 2015. Recognizing the importance of inspiring young activists, Lauren created the Teen Leadership Initiative, a high school program to combat gender violence through education and advocacy. Currently, Lauren is frequently called on to lead research-driven, interactive workshops across the United States for students, parents and educators to explore some of the toughest issues impacting young people today, including rape, pornography, online exploitation, cyber-bullying and sexting.
Lauren has been honored with numerous awards, including the National Organization for Women’s Susan B. Anthony Award and New York Law Journal's 2016 Rising Stars. Lauren has lectured at the United Nations and the European Parliament and has written extensively on issues of gender-based violence. Her work has been featured by CNN, The New York Times and numerous other news outlets. As an opinion leader and parent of two young children, Lauren is dedicated to creating real change in the fight against gender violence, starting at the earliest ages.