Director of Research and Advocacy

Mariah Grant is a human rights expert with a focus on migrant and sex workers’ rights, freedom of movement, and labor exploitation. She is a highly effective advocate who works to end systems of oppression in collaboration with impacted communities and individuals, including sex workers, people who use drugs, migrants, and people currently or previously incarcerated. Mariah combines her many years of experience providing direct services to migrant and refugee children and families within the United States and Europe, and researching and documenting human rights abuses throughout the Americas, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific, to push for long-term policy solutions at the local, national, and international levels.

Before joining DSW, Mariah worked in a range of human rights roles and consultancies including as director of research and advocacy at the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center (SWP). While at SWP, Mariah oversaw groundbreaking research projects including a joint publication with Yale University’s Global Health Justice Partnership on the impacts of district attorney non-prosecution policies in the context of sex work criminalization. She also led successful advocacy efforts to introduce and pass state and federal-US laws and policies to protect the health and human rights of sex workers and survivors of human trafficking. Beyond DSW and SWP, Mariah has worked with several nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations including the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the International Organization for Migration, the US Department of State, the US Department of Labor, ICF International, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Free Speech Coalition, Freedom Network USA, New Moon Network, Protection International, Morrison Child and Family Service, Minority Rights Group International, and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. Her work includes projects varying from research on sex workers’ experiences in conflict zones and humanitarian crises to investigating the incidence and impacts of financial and banking discrimination against adult industry businesses and workers.

Mariah is a current Steering Committee Member for Freedom Network USA, Advisory Council Member for Refugee Assistance and Information Network International, and Ambassador for Woodhull Freedom Foundation. She is also a volunteer child advocate with the Young Center, an immigration jail visit volunteer with the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, and a hotline and street outreach volunteer with HIPS DC. Mariah holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts in Human Rights and Democratization (Asia Pacific) from the University of Sydney. She is a native English speaker and a dedicated student of Spanish and Arabic.

Prior to her human rights work, for several years Mariah worked in the customer service industry as a bartender, restaurant server, cashier, retail associate, and telemarketer in Australia and the United States.