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New York State Senate Passes Bill Allowing Victims of Sex Trafficking to Clear Records

On Wednesday, the New York State Senate passed legislation that enables victims of sex trafficking to clear their records of prostitution-related offenses. The legislation, which was already approved by the assembly last month, will become effective as soon as Governor David Patterson (D) signs the bill. The legislation will help those forced into sex trafficking to rebuild their lives. The new legislation amends New York State Criminal Procedure Law. Under previous laws, victims of sex – trafficking who had been arrested for prostitution – related crimes were burdened with a criminal record long after they escaped from sex trafficking. These criminal records prevented survivors from getting jobs. Sienna Baskin, an attorney at the Urban Justice Center, says the previous law treated victims like criminals and helped pushed victims back into the hands of their abusers, reported WNYC Radio. The Urban Justice Center is an organization that provides legal services for victims of sex trafficking. A press release from the Urban Justice Center, says the vote on the legislation came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the State Department’s 10th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report (see PDF). The report outlines the prevalence of global trafficking and assesses the world’s effort to implement procedures of prevention, protection, and prosecution. According to the press release, this was the first year the report included “an assessment of trafficking in the U.S. and acknowledged the U.S. as ‘a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor, debt bondage, and forced prostitution.'”

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 6/18/10; Urban Justice Center Press Release 6/16/10; WNYC Radio 6/17/10