BROOKLYN, N.Y.—ECPAT-USA, the preeminent policy organization working to protect children in the United States from commercial sexual exploitation, announced the selection of its new Executive Director, Lori L. Cohen. She will assume her new position on November 4, 2019.
Cohen brings a wealth of experience to ECPAT-USA’s work to end human trafficking. Prior to joining ECPAT-USA, she created and directed the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at Sanctuary for Families, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services. Her team garnered widespread recognition, assisting more than 2,000 adult and child victim survivors of human trafficking and other forms of gender-based abuse.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Cohen has drawn upon her experience representing victims to engage in anti-trafficking policy advocacy on federal, state and local levels. She has conducted trainings in the United States and abroad for audiences as diverse as child welfare advocates, attorneys, judges, bankers, law enforcement, medical practitioners, Mexican congressional representatives, inmates at a state women’s correctional facility, and Russian LGBTQ activists.
“We were daunted by the task of finding an individual who could build on the stupendous work for more than twenty-five years of our current Director, Carol Smolenski. Carol and ECPAT have created awareness of the prevalence of the commercial exploitation of American children and through our advocacy and programs have been the recognized leader in advocating for the protection of children’s rights against this exploitation. Lori is the ideal individual to strengthen and expand this work!” said Jackie Shapiro, Chair of the Board of ECPAT-USA and Co-Chair of the ED Search Committee.
“It is a tremendous privilege to succeed Carol Smolenski in her pioneering work at ECPAT-USA,” noted Cohen. “In the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, ECPAT’s mission educating the public about the risks facing our children from sex buyers is more urgent than ever. As Executive Director for ECPAT-USA, I am eager to advocate for policies ensuring that, one day, no child will ever again be bought or sold for sex.”