More human trafficking victims can attempt to clear their criminal records under a pilot program in New York City’s courts that was announced yesterday.
The Urban Justice Center’s Sex Workers Project is teaming up with organizations such as the Legal Aid Society, Center for Appellate Litigation, Appellate Advocates, and Office of the Appellate Defender to bring motions to set aside convictions arising from a defendant’s past as a trafficking victim.
Criminal Procedure Law §440.10(1)(i), passed in 2010, permits the vacatur of convictions for the offenses of prostitution and loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution if the defendant’s offense “was a result of having been a victim of sex trafficking.”
The Sex Workers Project will ask judges sitting in specially-established anti-trafficking parts to assign counsel for the vacatur motions, and the participating organizations will pick up the representation.
The Legal Aid Society already has a Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project (NYLJ, July 26, 2013).
“We are very excited to begin this pilot project to ensure that many more survivors of trafficking receive the highest quality legal representation and are able to move forward with their lives,” said Melissa Broudo, senior staff attorney at the Sex Workers Project.