2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Robin Richardson

Robin Richardson

City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Immigrant Populations - Trafficking/Slavery
Sponsors: Friends & Family of Philip M. Stern

The Project

Robin identified, represented, and advocated for indigent victims of sex trafficking in New York City who are discriminated against by employers based on the criminal record they incurred while trafficked.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Victims of sex trafficking often face discrimination based upon their criminal record—a record that is the direct result of having been trafficked. Among other things, this impacts the ability of victims to find employment to provide for themselves and their family. Without the ability to earn a living, there is a high risk that victims will return to their trafficker. Though New York state has passed a law enabling sex trafficking victims to vacate their convictions, the law leaves countless victims vulnerable, either because they have convictions in other states, their convictions are not covered by the statute, or they face discrimination while their vacatur motion is pending.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Robin has:
• Vacated over twenty convictions for victims of human trafficking who were facing employment and hiring discrimination in New York
• Trained and oversaw the work of lawyers across six states to vacate convictions for victims of human trafficking
• Helped to pass New York City’s Fair Chance Act, which gives people with criminal records the opportunity to be judged by the strength of their application before an employer can consider their criminal record
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Robin will continue as a Staff Attorney at Urban Justice Center and train lawyers across the United States to use newly implemented state vacatur laws to help victims of human trafficking restart their lives, free from the stigma of a permanent criminal record.

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