Human trafficking victims can have more records expunged under new law

Human trafficking victims can have more records expunged under new law

Christopher P. DePhillips

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips’ bill expunging the records of human trafficking victims who were convicted of certain crimes was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday.

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. DePhillips’ measure (A5322/S3433) expands 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. “Victims of human trafficking are often haunted by their past and convictions that were the result of the horrors they had to endure. They deserve to move on with life and this law will help them do 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 146 human trafficking cases reported in New Jersey in 2020 and more than 1,600 cases 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 every year.