Director, Worker Rights



Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Friday, April 12, 2024

Position: Director, Workers Rights

Department: Programs

FLSA Status: Full-time, Exempt

Reports to: Chief Program Officer

Direct Reports: Associate Director, Worker Rights; Program Manager, Worker Rights

Date Issued: March 2015

Date Revised: March 2024

About Polaris

Polaris is leading a data-driven social justice movement to fight sex and labor trafficking at the massive scale of the problem – 25 million people worldwide deprived of the freedom to choose how they live and work. For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, helped ensure countless traffickers were held accountable and built the largest known U.S. data set on actual trafficking experiences. With the guidance of survivors, we use that data to improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how communities, businesses and governments can prevent human trafficking by transforming the underlying inequities and oppressions that make it possible.

About Opportunity

The Director of Worker Rights spearheads Polaris’s efforts to end labor trafficking in the United States and Mexico by transforming systems that enable trafficking to occur, closing loopholes that are exploited by traffickers, and increasing consequences for trafficking behavior. The Director will join an outstanding team and provide day to day management of program staff who work together to deliver high quality, impactful programs.

The successful candidate must be an expert on migrant workers’ rights, forced labor, or related field. They must excel in a fast-paced and evolving environment that values innovation, collaboration, and service, and is committed to achieving exceptional results. They will be a creative and strategic thinker who is adept at developing systemic strategies and robust program plans in complex environments. They must have a keen eye for the “bigger picture”, must be effective at building a wide variety of relationships across backgrounds, industries, and cultures, and have experience working with or alongside trafficking survivors and migrant workers. This candidate will be passionate and energetic, and bring creativity and resiliency to the goal of eradicating labor trafficking.


  • Program Management:
  • Ensure high quality, on-budget, on time delivery of grant-funded programs focused on forced labor and worker rights;
  • With the support of the Chief Program Officer (CPO) and Development team, manage strong relationships with current and prospective donors;
  • In partnership with the CPO and Development team, develop winning proposals and project strategies in response to funding opportunities;
  • With support from the Finance team, manage multiple multi-year grant budgets;
  • Work in partnership with the Policy team and CEO on advocacy opportunities at the federal, state, and local level to prevent or address labor trafficking;
  • Work in partnership with the Learning, Innovation and Data Systems team to monitor and evaluate program impact;
  • Establish and maintain strategic partnerships with relevant local and national stakeholders across the United States and Mexico;
  • Represent Polaris’ positions on labor trafficking and workers rights externally with other nonprofits, public interest groups, coalitions, other organizations, and the media;
  • Team Supervision:
  • Provide direct management, direction, and support to team members;
  • Cultivate talent through the provision of mentorship and the maintenance of a learning-focused, results-driven environment;
  • Direct the activities and manage the contracts of consultants providing project support, as needed;
  • Organizational Leadership:
  • Serve on the Senior Leadership Team
  • Work with the CPO and other program directors on the overall strategic direction of Polaris’ programs;
  • Cultivate and maintain effective relationships across the Program team and Senior Leadership Team to advance Polaris’s program priorities;
  • Participate in projects, committees, and task forces as assigned;
  • Commitment to Polaris values; and
  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

This job description provides a summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by individuals in this position. Incumbents may be asked to perform other tasks not specifically written in this job description.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience implementing labor rights projects and programs in an international or domestic setting including project design, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting, and project management experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate a diverse set of dynamics, actors, and politics on workers rights, immigration and labor trafficking in the U.S. and Mexico
  • Demonstrated ability to develop program strategies that lead to impact in the lives of workers and survivors.
  • Demonstrated track record as an effective team manager with the capacity to build and supervise a diverse team.
  • Proven motivator and developer of people with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds;
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills, in particular with broad, diverse audiences;
  • Genuine interest and passion for Polaris’s issues and priorities;
  • Team player with superior interpersonal and collaboration skills;
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment that requires rapid prioritization of a number of projects;
  • Personal resilience and ability to remain positive and work well under pressure, within tight deadlines, on topics that may be personally challenging;
  • Ability to consistently apply professionalism and good judgment in a fast-paced environment;
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times; and
  • Ability to travel domestically, and on occasion, internationally.
  • Fluent in Spanish.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience developing strategies using a complex systems approach.
  • Advanced degree in international development, public health, social work, human rights or related area


Internal: Ability to communicate effectively with executives, peers, and direct reports; and

External: Ability to build trusted relationships with partner organizations, build consensus across a broad range of actors, and respond quickly and calmly in a variety of situations. Frequent contact with survivors, donors, partner organizations, advocacy coalitions, law enforcement, the business community, and the media.

Working Conditions

  • Typical office setting

Physical Requirements

  • Prolonged sitting, chiefly at a computer terminal;
  • Occasional bending, stooping, and stretching;
  • Requires eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity sufficient to operate a computer, telephone, calculator, and other office equipment;
  • Requires normal range of hearing and eyesight to record, prepare, and communicate in writing, in person and by phone;
  • Requires occasional lifting up to 25 pounds.

Grant Funding Status

This position is grant funded and is subject to modification or termination in accordance with grant agreement or suspension of funding. Polaris reserves the right to maintain the position and personnel based on organizational needs. Polaris Project is an at-will employer, and neither you nor Polaris Project is bound to continue the employment relationship if either chooses, at its will, to end the relationship at any time once your employment has begun.

Values Statement

The work of Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all of our activities. At Polaris, we look for talented individuals who are passionate about combating all forms of human trafficking and who will strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti-trafficking field. Please take a moment to make yourself familiar with these values and our mission statement before submitting your application. You can find a full description of our values here.

Diversity Statement

Polaris designs and implements data-driven strategies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking and restore freedom to survivors. Achieving this ambitious goal requires both trafficking-specific systemic interventions and broader cultural and structural shifts that reduce the inequities that lead to human trafficking. While Polaris alone cannot build a more diverse, just, equitable, and inclusive society, both the success of our work and our organizational values require modeling in the workplace the change we want to see in the world.

This means cultivating a workforce, organizational culture, and priorities that respect and celebrate a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team made up of individuals with different identities, lived experiences, and backgrounds. Within both our team and across every part of our work, we strive to integrate and elevate the full range of survivor voices.

This is a living commitment. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are values to be manifested daily, in the work we do, the decisions we make, and the way that we treat each other and the people we seek to serve. This means creating a space where staff can be included, heard, valued, and set up for success, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, best selves to work. We will not check boxes and consider it done. We will push innovations and different ways of thinking, and treasure the community built and strengthened by each of our contributions.