|Posted:||January 16, 2013 01:20 PM|
|From:||Senator Daylin Leach|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Vacating Convictions of the Victims of Human Trafficking|
|In the near future I will be introducing legislation to vacate the prostitution convictions of the victims of Human Trafficking.
As you may know, tens of thousands of Americans are held in what is essentially indentured servitude or modern day slavery. They are forced to work for illegally low, or in some cases even no wages to pay off perpetual "debts" to the traffickers. Often people are held against their will and forced to work in the sex trade and many of these victims are then arrested and charged with prostitution while their pimps and traffickers escape conviction.
The bill will provide two avenues of help for victims; if at the time of trial they can show that they were forced to be a sex worker it will be a rebuttable defense to the charge of prostitution. Alternatively victims seeking to clear their records as they get their lives back together would be able to vacate a prior prostitution conviction from their record if they could show they were the victims of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is an unfortunate reality in Pennsylvania, as we work to prevent this horrible practice it is important to remember the current and former victims and not punish them a second time for acts they were forced to commit.
Introduced as SB530