DOJ Pressed To Explain Legal Aid Cut For Trafficking Victims

The change generated an uproar from survivors, advocates, service-providers, local prosecutors and the American Bar Association, all of whom raised concerns that it would prevent access to legal services for people who need it most.

News Story (NATIONAL)

RJ Vogt
August 11, 2019

Tags: Human Trafficking

Organizations mentioned/involved: Justice in Government Project (DC)


Karen Lash, a former deputy director of the DOJ’s now-shuttered Access to Justice office who runs American University’s Justice in Government Project, told Law360 that studies have shown wages and employment rates go up and recidivism goes down when people are able to expunge their criminal records.

“Expunging a criminal record acquired because someone is a crime victim is simply the right thing to do to help them heal,” she said. “It gives them their identity back.”

Some federal funds, administered to states through the Victims of Crime Act, can be used to help pay for expungement services if state-level officials choose to do so, but Bruggeman noted those funds are not explicitly required to fund legal services or serve victims of sex trafficking.