Criminal Record Relief

Prioritizing Survivor Voices at the Federal Level: Criminal Records Relief

Blog Post — October 27, 2023
Without consistent and clear state laws and federal legislation, criminal records remain one of the biggest obstacles that survivors face in rebuilding their lives after exploitation.

Prioritizing Survivor-Centered State Policies: Improving Criminal Record Relief

Blog Post — October 5, 2023
Helping survivors with criminal records avoid further exploitation is an ongoing policy priority for Polaris and the anti-trafficking sector.

Study Confirms Trafficking Victims Like Zephi Trevino Are Being Consistently Criminalized

Blog Post — March 28, 2023
Zephi Trevino’s upcoming trial in Texas shows that law enforcement and prosecutors are ignoring a victim’s trafficking experience and going ahead with criminal charges.

Listen to Black Survivors

Blog Post — February 1, 2023
The voices of Black survivors have historically been left out of the anti trafficking movement. To tell the true story of human trafficking, we can no longer separate it from race.

In Harm’s Way: How Systems Fail Human Trafficking Survivors

Published January 25, 2023
The National Survivor Study used the experience and expertise from survivors to create a detailed picture of the arc of trafficking.

Criminal Record Relief for Trafficking Survivors

Updated April 20, 2023
Polaris released a new report grading all 50 states and D.C. on their criminal record relief laws for human trafficking survivors. Since the first report in 2019, 17 states responded to the call for better statutes that are more inclusive and easier to access, while two states actually reversed their progress.

Criminalizing Victims: Trafficking Survivors With Criminal Records Deserve Relief

Blog Post — August 15, 2022
Keyana Marshall was just 15 when she was manipulated into selling sex by a female trafficker she originally went to work for as a babysitter. Throughout her teen years she was passed from one trafficker to another. Finally, law enforcement stepped in. But for Keyana, that only made things worse. She wound up serving nearly … Continued

Finding Solutions and Solidarity

Blog Post — February 5, 2021
There are many things the anti trafficking community does not agree on, and some very deep and very real divisions that make it hard to work together at times. We believe there are also real opportunities to work together toward things that will meaningfully improve people’s lives.

New Georgia Law Helps Trafficking Survivors Clear Their Records

Blog Post — July 13, 2020
Georgia enacted a law that allows adult survivors to clear their criminal records of convictions that occurred because they were being trafficked. This is great news for countless human trafficking survivors, the vast majority of whom have some record of arrest or conviction as a direct result of their victimization.

Model Legislation and Issue Briefs

Published September 15, 2015
For a comprehensive model law that can guide states in drafting legislation to combat human trafficking in the United States, please see the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Act on Human Trafficking.

Progress on Criminal Record Relief for Trafficking Survivors

Blog Post — August 12, 2019

In the months since Polaris released report cards that analyzed and ranked state laws offering criminal records relief for survivors of human trafficking, two states have passed significant improvements and several others have made major steps forward. 

The Importance of Criminal Record Relief for Human Trafficking Survivors

Blog Post — March 20, 2019

Survivors of human trafficking have criminal records because they were forced into commercial sex, or drug sales, or other offenses. Many, but not all states have recognized that this is fundamentally unfair and that survivors of human trafficking deserve the chance to have those records cleared. 

Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.