Trafficking victim gets criminal record expunged
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Memphis woman is the first person in Shelby County to have criminal convictions expunged because they were related to her status as a victim of human trafficking, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Citing a statute enacted in 2019 by the Tennessee General Assembly, the woman applied for the expungements of six misdemeanor convictions, including three for prostitution and three for theft. Two arrests for pedestrian soliciting rides on a roadway also were expunged, according to the DA’s office.
Normally, the law allows for expungement of only two criminal convictions.
Prosecutors approved the expungement petition after reviewing the woman’s criminal history and the sworn statement she submitted regarding how she was forced to engage in criminal activity against her will. The petition was then granted by a judge.
None of the offenses involved violence, a deadly weapon, threats, or injuries to victims, which are not eligible for expungement under the law.
According to the DA’s office, this is the first such expungement in Shelby County and also is believed to be the first in the state.
“Giving people a fresh start is one of the best parts of our job - particularly victims of human trafficking. Our prostitution-diversion program - Lives Worth Saving - and this legislation recognize that victims of human traffickers, are not criminals,” Weirich said.
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