The Daily Record’s editorial advisory board last week called for changes in Maryland’s “vacatur” law, which allows survivors of human trafficking to vacate their convictions for prostitution. Maryland, which enacted the law in 2011, was the second state to do so. Today, 39 states have passed such legislation.
While acknowledging that vacatur is helpful for trafficking survivors, the editorial said the Maryland law does not go far enough.
“[T]he law is too narrow and contains far too many procedural impediments,” the editorial advisory board wrote.
Particularly troublesome, it said, is the law’s single focus on vacating prostitution convictions: “While convictions for prostitution are common, survivors of trafficking are often forced or compelled to commit other related offenses, such as trespassing, theft, burglary, disturbing the peace, and drug-related offenses. These crimes can have the same damaging effects on a survivor’s life as a conviction for prostitution.”
Professor David Jaros is a member of The Daily Record’s editorial advisory board.