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Clearing the Slate: Seeking Effective Remedies for Criminalized Trafficking Victims

Update: This event will be livestreamed.

NYATN member Sienna Baskin will be speaking on a panel, “Clearing the Slate: Seeking Effective Remedies for Criminalized Trafficking Victims,” at CUNY Law School on February 27

Women trafficked into the sex industry are particularly vulnerable to abuse and face the added threat of criminal prosecution for acts they were forced to commit. Resulting criminal convictions can continue to haunt trafficking survivors, preventing them from rebuilding their lives. A novel New York law passed in 2010 helps remedy this harm by allowing survivors to vacate these convictions.

CUNY Law School’s new report Clearing the Slate: Seeking Effective Remedies for Criminalized Trafficking Victims, from the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, looks at the problem of criminalization of trafficking victims and New York’s experience with the vacatur law in order to identify best practices for New York and other states.

This event will examine the factors that lead to criminalization of trafficking victims, identify the successes and challenges of implementing the law, and discuss other reforms to help trafficking survivors.

New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, sponsor of the vacatur law, will give introductory remarks.

Panelists:

  • The Honorable Toko Serita (’89), presiding judge, Queens County Human Trafficking Intervention Court
  • Sienna Baskin (’07), co-director of the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center
  • Kate Mogulescu, supervising attorney at the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society
  • John Temple, attorney-in-charge at the Human Trafficking Program at the New York County District Attorney’s Office

Register for the event.  Read more….

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NYATN member Sex Workers Project joins letter to United Nations demanding the US stop criminalizing human trafficking survivors

The Human Rights Committee of the United Nations monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), one of the three human rights treaties that the US has ratified. In this fourth review of US compliance, civil society is submitting letters raising human rights concerns that are not adequately addressed in the U.S.’s self-reporting.

In a letter by the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law, the Sex Workers Project, and the Legal Aid Society, and we note that in the United States, victims of human trafficking are often “arrested, detained, and prosecuted, and then burdened with the stigma and collateral harms of having a criminal record—all for having engaged in criminal acts that they are forced into by their traffickers… The failure to take adequate steps to prevent criminalization of trafficked persons violates the U.S.’s obligations under the ICCPR.”

The Sex Workers Project will work with these partners to engage with the Human Rights Committee process over the next year, holding the US accountable and spreading the message about effective criminal justice remedies for survivors of trafficking.

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