December 27, 2019
Attorneys from Weil’s New York office, working together with Sanctuary for Families, secured an order from a New York state court expunging multiple criminal convictions of a victim of horrific human trafficking. The order was issued pursuant to New York’s Vacatur Law for Survivors of Trafficking. This was the second successful motion brought by Weil attorneys on behalf of this client. All together, the Weil team has succeeded in obtaining the vacatur of more than 20 convictions across multiple jurisdictions.
Our client was severely abused and abandoned as a young girl and suffered unimaginable mistreatment by three traffickers over the course of three decades. In addition to being subjected to forced prostitution and physical violence, our client was coerced to engage in drug transactions for the benefit of her traffickers. Under the thumb of her traffickers, our client reasonably feared for her life. Finally free of her traffickers, the convictions that resulted from her being trafficked have haunted our client and have limited her ability to pursue her dreams.
Supervised by senior counsel Richard Rothman and with assistance from co-counsel Sanctuary for Families, Litigation associates Jay Minga, Arielle Gordon (now Weil senior compliance attorney), and Beau Baumann, and Weil alumna Megan Richardson (now a fellow at the Michigan Innocence Project) have represented the client in connection with her petitions for expunction of felony and misdemeanor convictions based on actions taken while under the control of her trafficker. In addition to preparing the motion for the court, the Weil team was able to obtain the active support of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for the application to vacate the client’s conviction. With this relief, our client will be more able to move forward with her life free from her traffickers. She hopes to continue her education and build her career.
This matter is one of several human trafficking victim expungement cases that Weil attorneys in New York, Miami and Washington, D.C. have successfully worked on to obtain relief for deserving victims of human trafficking. Approximately 700,000 people are trafficked internationally every year.