COLUMBUS — State Representative Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) provided sponsor testimony for House Bill 319, the Expanding Human Trafficking Justice Act, which will broaden the application of expungement for human trafficking victims. Expungement permanently destroys, deletes or erases any record of conviction of an offense.
Currently, human trafficking victims are only eligible for expungement if they were convicted of soliciting, loitering or prostitution. The most common offenses by victims include shoplifting, drug trafficking, credit card theft, cashing bad checks and other financial crimes, which under current law are not eligible for expungement.
House Bill 319 will expand the crimes eligible for expungement for victims of human trafficking to any offense other than aggravated murder, murder and rape.
The legislation also has built-in safeguards to prevent serious offenses from being expunged.
According to the bill, a human trafficking victim may apply for expungement and demonstrate to a court that their participation in the offense was a part of being trafficked. The court has the responsibility of determining whether the expungement is appropriate.
The bill does not eliminate the sentencing for human trafficking victims. They would still face penalties for their crimes and are only able to have their records expunged after serving their sentence.
Richardson is joint sponsoring this bipartisan bill with State Rep. Tavia Galonski. House Bill 319 awaits additional hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee.FROM MARION STAR