In 2007, the United States Senate designated January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Speaking alongside multiple Congress members, survivors, and advocates, Stacie Reimer, the Executive Director of the Amara Legal Center, was invited to the U.S. Capitol to share her remarks on a panel concerning the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act.

Representative Wagner along with Representatives Gabbard, Jolly, and Sensenbrenner introduced the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act in September 2016. The bill, if passed, will allow survivors of human trafficking to vacate a variety of non-violent criminal records that resulted directly from victimization through human trafficking. Survivors of human trafficking often have criminal records because they were forced to commit crimes by their traffickers. The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, if passed, would cover both federal and D.C. local offenses. Survivors of human trafficking with criminal records are often hindered in their efforts to move forward with their lives after trafficking. For example, many survivors have difficulty obtaining employment, housing and education due to criminal records.

After the panel at the U.S. Capitol, Stacie Reimer participated at an event co-hosted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and the Washington D.C. Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. Speaking alongside government officials, survivors, and advocates, Stacie Reimer pushed for greater collaboration among government agencies and nonprofit organizations when serving trafficking survivors. Ms. Reimer also urged law enforcement to stop arresting victims of sex trafficking as an investigation tactic. Often, victims of trafficking are arrested by law enforcement with the goal of using that arrest and possible conviction as a way to manipulate victims to testify against their traffickers. This tactic is not only unfair and traumatizing to the victims, it also hardly ever results in a conviction of traffickers. Victims of human trafficking are often threatened with physical and emotional harm by their traffickers in order to prevent victims from testifying against their traffickers.

Awareness Event Hosted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and D.C.’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants.

Stacie Reimer speaks at the U.S. Capitol in support of the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act