In March 2019, the Survivor Reentry Project convened prosecutors with experience working with victims of human trafficking in the criminal legal system to share their knowledge and expertise on criminal record relief practices, and develop a set of guiding principles for prosecutors on criminal record relief for victims to ensure consistency and reliability for survivors attempting to access criminal record relief. The participants of the roundtable discussion included state and local prosecutors from across the country, expert stakeholders, and staff from the U.S. Department of Justice. While significant differences existed in terms of the criminal record relief available to survivors in the participants’ jurisdictions, all of the participants had a strong understanding of human trafficking, and many had vast experience prosecuting human trafficking cases.
In addition, most participants handled criminal record relief petitions in their jurisdiction. This report synthesizes the principles developed at the roundtable into specific recommendations that prosecutors across the country can implement to ensure that trafficking survivors are able to access criminal record relief that is trauma-informed, thereby minimizing the risk of revictimization. Finally, the convening addressed common challenges faced by prosecutors fielding requests for criminal record relief from trafficking survivors and attempted to work through some of the tension for prosecutors inherent in such requests.