Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $800,000)
Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) will expand its statewide anti-trafficking project, PROTECT, to provide targeted, supportive civil legal services to labor trafficking victims in South Jersey. LSNJ will increase the program’s capacity through the retention of additional staff, by utilizing the experience of current LSNJ staff who have expertise with low-income South Jersey workers, and by partnering with PathStone Corporation, CATA (Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajadores Agricolas), and other social service organizations. This expansion will benefit vulnerable, at-risk, under-served South Jerseyans, with an initial focus on farmworkers, and will grow to include workers in the seafood, landscaping, warehouse, and Atlantic shore entertainment industries—all of which are concentrated in South Jersey and present strong risk factors for labor trafficking. Efforts will focus on reaching workers who are low-income; immigrants; limited English proficiency (LEP); and situated in rural areas. In doing so, LSNJ will leverage existing community partnerships in the region and across the state, as well as its own expertise in anti-trafficking, workers’ rights, language access, and all areas of poverty law. Project activities include the provision of specialized, supportive civil legal services to trafficking victims via PROTECT staff, resources, and intake; close collaboration with the LSNJ Farmworker Project; PathStone, CATA, and new community partners; establishment of a physical presence in South Jersey; development of a robust outreach plan to victims of labor trafficking; the development of specialized, culturally- and linguistically-appropriate legal education materials, events, and resources, in various mediums and languages; direct outreach to low-income workers within their communities and at migrant labor camps, farm dormitories, and pick-up points; staff participation in related trainings and professional development opportunities; and ongoing data collection in order to measure the success of the expansion. Expected outcomes include increased visibility of PROTECT in the South Jersey region, among both victims of labor trafficking and service providers; new and strengthened partnerships with victim-serving organizations; and, ultimately, an increase in the number of cases opened—and workers and family members assisted—in South Jersey.