Sex trafficking survivors push for bill they say would help victims start over

Stephanie Harris was working as a prostitute for two years before she met the man who would become her pimp. He wouldn’t let her eat or go home until she met her quota for the day. Sometimes, she was left on Aurora Avenue in Seattle for 16 to 18 hours at a time.

“After I left my pimp, I really did attempt to clean up my act,” Harris told lawmakers at a hearing of the House Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. She turned herself in to police and faced charges that had accumulated during her time on the streets.

“But I found what was happening is I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t get an apartment,” she said. “I had a kid that I was trying to fight and get back, but those charges just didn’t look good for me.”

Harris asked lawmakers to pass House Bill 2668, which would allow people to vacate their convictions if they can show their crimes were a result of being a victim of trafficking or being compelled into prostitution. Once a court vacates a conviction, it no longer shows up on a criminal record.

To read more: http://www.capitolrecord.org/2016/01/sex-trafficking-survivors-push-for-bill-they-say-would-help-victims-start-over/