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Survivors of Human Trafficking Call on Governor to Sign START Act

The Legal Aid Society, along with 60 criminalized survivors of human trafficking, issued a letter that calls on Governor Andrew Cuomo to enact the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act (S.674/A.459), a life-changing bill that would help survivors of labor and sex trafficking to clear or vacate criminal convictions that resulted from their victimization, as reported by POLITICO New York.

Over 120 organizations that advocate for labor rights, racial justice, gender justice, immigrant justice, survivors of violence, and LGBTQ+ rights have joined the survivors’ brave call, recognizing that the START Act would allow survivors to overcome previously insurmountable barriers to stability and safety caused by their criminal convictions.

“These convictions also make it much more difficult to rebuild our lives, creating hurdles for obtaining employment, student loans, housing, or legal immigration status. It is traumatic enough that trafficking survivors have to deal with the long-term effects of being exploited. Survivors should not also have to carry the weight and burden of criminal records,” the letter stated.