Karen Stauss

Karen Stauss oversees Transparentem’s engagement with the private sector to remedy labor and environmental abuses connected to global supply chains.

Before joining Transparentem, Karen served as Senior Policy Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. Among other responsibilities, she represented the Department of Justice in the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force and co-led the development of the White House’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and the Department of Justice’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. She led a broad interagency task force with a Congressional mandate to make legal and policy recommendations to root out forced labor in the global fishing industry. Karen represented the Department’s Civil Rights Division on a committee to update the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance for the first time in a decade. Previously, Karen served as Director of Programs at Free the Slaves, where she oversaw all aspects of the organization’s community-based programs in eight countries to eliminate forced labor and modern slavery. She served as Managing Attorney and Policy Counsel at Polaris Project and was a founding member of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST). Before joining the anti-trafficking movement, Karen was an Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch and opened Human Rights Watch’s permanent field office in the Democratic Republic of Congo, documenting gender-based violence and other conflict-related human rights abuses.

Karen holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. She speaks fluent French and conversational Spanish and German.