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Workable Solutions for Criminal Record Relief: Recommendations for Prosecutors Serving Victims of Human Trafficking

NCJ Number
254376
Date Published
2019
Length
17 pages
Annotation

This report presents recommendations from a roundtable convened in March 2019 to discuss criminal record relief practices for trafficking victims convicted of crimes related to their victimization and develop a set of guiding principles for prosecutors on criminal record relief for victims of human trafficking, so as to ensure consistency and reliability for survivors attempting to access criminal records relief.

Abstract

In a 2016 survey conducted by the National Survivor Network, just over 90 percent of trafficking survivors reported having been arrested at least once, with just over 50 percent reporting that every arrest on their record was related to their involvement in trafficking-related activities. Trafficking survivors further reported that their criminal records regularly prevented them from obtaining employment, educational and professional opportunities, secure housing, and financial freedom. In 2010, New York became the first state to enable trafficking survivors to clear certain criminal charges from their records. Called criminal record relief laws, these laws enable trafficking survivors to clear certain criminal charges from their records. With the support of the U.S. Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime, the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence launched the Survivor Reentry Project (SRP) in 2016. SRP provides national training and technical assistance for attorneys working with survivors of human trafficking seeking criminal record relief. The SRP convened the roundtable that is the subject of this current report. The roundtable consisted of prosecutors with experience working with victims of human trafficking in the criminal legal system. The roundtable discussed criminal record relief practices, such as vacatur and expungement, for victims of human trafficking, and then developed a set of guiding principles for prosecutors on criminal record relief for victims of trafficking, so as to ensure consistency and reliability for trafficking survivors seeking criminal record relief.