TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips’ bill expunging the records of human trafficking victims who were convicted of certain crimes unanimously passed the Assembly Thursday.
New Jersey’s Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act allows a human trafficking victim to vacate and expunge convictions and records for prostitution and similar offenses. This bill (A5322) will expand that law to also include expungement of other convictions while a victim of human trafficking, including any DNA and identifying records.
“Human trafficking is a major problem in New Jersey given our location, proximity to major cities and a robust transportation network,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said. “We can’t turn a blind eye to the victims of human trafficking in this state. They deserve to move on with life and not be haunted by their past. This bill will allow them to do just that.”
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims include men, women and children who are exploited for sexual activity and forced labor. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 247 human trafficking cases reported in New Jersey in 2019 and nearly 1,500 cases reported since 2007. The New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force estimates there are between 14,500 and 17,500 people trafficked (50% of them children) into the United States per year.