RICHMOND, VA – Attorney General Jason Miyares announced today he joined a bipartisan letter of 41 attorneys general to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) supporting the intent of the Debt Bondage Repair Act in the agency’s rulemaking, implementing these recent amendments to Section 605C of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
“Human trafficking is a heinous, multigenerational crime that continues to affect survivors after they’ve escaped their trafficker. One-way traffickers trap their victims is by destroying their credit history, making it nearly impossible for victims to live independently. Rebuilding credit history and establishing financial stability is key to helping survivors reenter society and rebuild their lives. I’m proud to encourage the CFPB to support victims of human trafficking and help end the cycle of abuse,” said Attorney General Miyares.
The Debt Bondage Repair Act was signed into law in December 2021. It prohibits credit rating agencies from providing consumer reports that contain negative items about human trafficking survivors from any period during which the individual was being trafficked. It is a common tactic of traffickers to strip their victims of their financial independence or stability in order to keep them trapped. Even after they escape their trafficking, these survivors are often left with a wrecked credit history that leaves them unable to rent an apartment, purchase a car, or find employment.
“It is absolutely vital to recognize traffickers not only control the physical lives of their victims but anything they can benefit from without any thought regarding the person’s future. Traffickers use every relevant vulnerability to exploit victims. Fair economic empowerment for survivors of trafficking is key to helping them transition into society” said Tanya Gould, Director of the Anti-Human Trafficking division of the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Miyares is passionate about fighting back against human trafficking. The AG hosted a round table event with community leaders and experts on May 11 to discuss the foster care to human trafficking pipeline and potential solutions to solve this crisis. Additionally, the AG supported legislation which was signed by the Governor to require human trafficking training for law enforcement officers and certain hospitality staff.
Read the letter here.
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