This spring, Senator McHenry of North Carolina introduced the Debt Bondage Repair Act, H.R. 2332, a bill that would stop the reporting of adverse credit information that arose when a person was being victimized by trafficking.
A major component of both labor and sex trafficking is debt bondage. Besides the primary sexual exploitation victims experience, they are also often enslaved by debt and exploited financially in numerous ways that unfairly follow them throughout their lives. The Debt Bondage Repair Act frees survivors from some of the financial encumbrances that facilitated their bondage. Inspired by advocate Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher’s testimony before the Financial Services Committee of the House, this bill addresses a serious barrier that trafficking survivors frequently face. Rev. Dr. Hatcher herself, was undermined in her efforts to live her life fully by an adversely reported car loan forced upon her by her trafficker.
In America, financial well-being depends on having good credit. The DBRA allows survivors to truly thrive, by being able to build good credit, seek housing and other important purchases, and even obtain better employment because their credit record is an accurate reflection of who they are now, and not of how they were exploited in the past. In the words of Sen. McHenry, this bill “will help victims regain their financial freedom and begin to rebuild their lives.”
On June 15, the House passed this act with strong bipartisan support, now let’s push to get the Senate behind it too.