Founder and CEO of Global Centurion, Former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons with the U.S. State Department, Founder
Laura J. Lederer received her B.A. magna cum laude in comparative religions from the University of Michigan. After 10 years in philanthropy as director of community concerns at a private foundation, she continued her education at the University of San Francisco Law School and DePaul College of Law and received her juris doctorate in June 1994. She was the recipient of the University of San Francisco Alumni Women’s Association scholarship in 1991. In 1992 she was Mansfield Fellow of Law at DePaul College of Law. In 1997, she received the Gustavus Meyers Center for Study of Human Rights Annual Award for Outstanding Work on Human Rights for her work on harmful speech issues. In 2008 she received a Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. State Department. In September, 2009, she received the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Humanitarian Service Award for her work to stop human trafficking. The award is “the College’s greatest living alumni honor” and is given to recognize noble character and citizenship and to celebrate service to humanity. On November 2, 2009, she also received the Protection Project Human Rights Award for her invaluable contribution to the global movement to stop human trafficking. On September, 29, 2011 she was awarded the honor of Outstanding Scholar from the National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
Lederer founded and directed The Protection Project at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997. In 2000, she moved The Project to Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is adjunct professor of law at Georgetown Law Center, where she has taught for ten years, including the first full course on international trafficking in persons offered at a law school.
For six years from 2002 – 2008, she served as Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. She was Senior Director of Global Projects on Trafficking in Persons in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State. From 2002 – 2009, she also held the Executive Directorship of the Senior Policy Operating Group on Trafficking in Persons, a policy group that staffed the President’s cabinet-level Interagency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons.
Lederer was an expert consultant for “The Day My God Died,” a feature-length documentary, that casts a spotlight on the devastating impact child sex trafficking has upon the lives of children trafficked from Nepal to India. She also served as an advisor for the New York Times article that served as the basis for “Trade”, a feature length drama based on real cases of international sex trafficking, and starring Kevin Kline. She has advised on training manuals for the U.S. Department of Defense, and assisted in TIP training of foreign national militaries for U.S. Department of Defense Southern Command. She has spoken at over 300 governmental, inter-governmental and nongovernmental events.
She is the editor of Take Back the Night, published in 1980 by William and Morrow (hardcover) and Bantam Books (paperback), and The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate Propaganda, and Pornography, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1995, and the author of numerous articles on trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, including “Sold for Sex; the Link Between Street Gangs and Human Trafficking,” “Best Practices in Addressing Demand,” and “Is There Justice in Johns Schools?” Currently she is President of Global Centurion, a new NGO dedicated to fighting world slavery by focusing on demand.