Jan 11 2017
Rep. Kristi Noem today joined Rep. Ann Wagner and more than a dozen colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Trafficking Survivors Relief Act. If enacted, the legislation would establish a process in which trafficking survivors with non-violent federal offenses could petition a court to vacate the arrests and/or convictions that were a direct result of being trafficked.
According to a recent survey by the National Survivor Network, around 80 percent of trafficking survivors surveyed had lost or not received employment because of their criminal convictions. Around half had suffered from barriers to accessing housing.
“Traffickers often use drugs and alcohol as a means of control, deepening a victim’s dependence on the trafficker,” said Noem. “Many survivors escape to face a stack of legal paperwork for violations committed while under a trafficker’s control. That makes it extremely difficult for a person to get their feet back under them and move forward. I’m hopeful this legislation will help relieve survivors of the past, open doors for them, and offer a path forward where healing can begin.”
Introduced on January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act has been supported by the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, the National Survivor Network, the District Attorneys Association, and others.