A law passed in 2010 by New York State that aims to help victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution clear their criminal records is finally making headway, thanks to an organization called the Sex Workers Project.

Via The New York Times:

The law allows convictions related to sexual trafficking to be removed from a person's record. New York had the first such law in the country and today 18 other states have adopted similar statutes.

"If certain prostitution arrests arose directly from trafficking, the court must vacate the charges," said Melissa Broudo, a lawyer with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center. "The case is over. It's a recognition that they should not have been convicted in the first place."

Clearing those convictions is critical, says Broudo, because they often affect whether the victims—mostly women—are able to hold even menial jobs, like cleaning toilets.

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One heartbreaking and inspiring story was shared anonymously toward the end of the article, where a 56-year old woman whose husband had forced her into prostitution eventually had her record cleared and found work as a home health aide, adding that her life has changed, even though at one point, she thought she'd never see her way out.

Image courtesy of Sex Workers Project