Juhu Thukral is the Director of Law and Advocacy at The Opportunity Agenda. She has been an advocate for the rights of low-income and immigrant women in the areas of sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, economic security, and criminal justice for 20 years. Prior to joining The Opportunity Agenda, Ms. Thukral was the founder and Director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. She founded the Sex Workers Project in 2001, after recognizing the strong need for an organization that protects the legal rights of sex workers, many of whom are low-income and immigrant women of color. Ms. Thukral envisioned and developed the SWP’s legal and programmatic initiatives around sex work and human rights, trafficking in persons, and economic security. She also raised the funding for the project and managed its partnerships with a diverse array of collaborating organizations. Additionally, she is a founding Steering Committee member of the NY Anti-Trafficking Network. Ms. Thukral has spoken extensively on these issues and authored articles that have appeared in American Sexuality Magazine, Feministing.com, Research for Sex Work, and SIECUS Report. She has served as an expert source for a wide range of media outlets, including the Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Times, Women’s eNews, NPR, Democracy Now, Good Morning America, NY1, Village Voice, AlterNet and numerous other venues.
Before founding the Sex Workers Project, Ms. Thukral was a Staff Attorney in the Urban Justice Center’s Family Violence Project, where she engaged in legal advocacy for battered women who were dealing with the criminal justice and child welfare systems. In addition, Ms. Thukral was a Blackmun Fellowship Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and a Ruth Chance Law Fellow at Equal Rights Advocates in San Francisco. During these fellowships, she advocated on behalf of low-income and immigrant women on economic justice issues, including sexual harassment and other rights violations, as well as a spectrum of reproductive rights concerns.
Ms. Thukral is a co-author and co-investigator of the reports, Behind Closed Doors: An Analysis of Indoor Sex Work in New York City (2005); Revolving Door: An Analysis of Street-Based Prostitution in New York City (2003); and The Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1995: Examining the Effects of Mandatory Arrest in New York City (2001).
She obtained her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she was awarded the Elaine Osborne Jacobson Award for Women in Health Care Law, and her B.A. from Rice University.