Media Contact

Ben Schaefer, bschaefer@nyclu.org, 212-607-3372

November 16, 2021

ALBANY – Today, Governor Hochul signed the Survivors of Trafficking Attaining Relief Together (START) Act into law, which will bring justice to survivors of sex and labor trafficking by creating pathways to vacate convictions and remove barriers to relief.

In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

“Survivors of sex and labor trafficking must be supported, not criminalized. Yet for the past decade, our state law has left some survivors enmeshed in our criminal legal system for offenses they were compelled to commit by their traffickers. That is neither dignity nor justice.

“With START Act signed into law, our state can now allow survivors to dismantle barriers to employment, housing, and education that remain for a lifetime, and protect noncitizen survivors, for whom a criminal conviction can have devastating immigration consequences, including deportation and family separation. Now, New York can prioritize stability over stigma.”