Federal Criminal Records Relief for Survivors

Call to Action Text Field

By its very definition, the crime of human trafficking involves being forced, manipulated or tricked into activities that a person would not otherwise engage in - such as selling sexual services or doing any kind of work without pay. Indeed the vast majority of trafficking survivors report having a criminal record as a result of having been trafficked. Yet the federal government fails to recognize this.

By contrast, most states have recognized this contradiction and the effect it has on the lives of survivors struggling to heal and move forward with their lives. In response, they have enacted laws that provide a way for them to clear their records. These laws vary widely in terms of scope and effectiveness but they are all better than nothing - which is, for the moment, what the federal government can offer. 

It is long past time to create a pathway for federal criminalized trafficking survivors to clear their records and move on with their lives. Having a criminal record - even an arrest record without a conviction - can keep survivors from being able to get jobs, rent apartments, receive certain kinds of state and federal benefits, even coach their children’s sports teams.

That’s why Polaris is supporting the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, introduced in the last Congressional session. This legislation is far from perfect, but it is a good first step toward giving federally criminalized survivors a real shot at real freedom. Contact your representatives today and ask that they reintroduce and support this legislation.