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LAS Praises Governor Hochul for Signing START Act

The Legal Aid Society is praising Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act, a life-changing bill that will help survivors of labor and sex trafficking clear or vacate criminal convictions that resulted from their victimization, as reported by El Diario.

The START Act remedies the shortcomings of the current law, which limited eligibility for vacatur to prostitution convictions, ignoring the reality that human trafficking survivors are forced by their traffickers to commit a variety of offenses.

Trafficking survivors will now be able to vacate or clear all criminal convictions that are a result of their exploitation. These criminal records are lifelong traumatic reminders of abuse that hinder emotional, psychological, and financial healing. The Act sends a clear message that New York stands with all criminalized trafficking victims – whether exploited into commercial sex or other labor sectors.

The Exploitation Intervention Project of The Legal Aid Society eagerly awaits the implementation of the Act, as we have numerous clients who have been waiting decades for this important relief,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney in Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice.