PHOENIX – Jan. 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and this month marks the 20 year anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This federal legislation drove trafficking prevention efforts, established prosecution methods for traffickers and laid out the foundation for the inception of programs such as Road to Rights, the voter outreach program housed within the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.
“Included within the restoration of rights process is earning back the right to vote,” Secretary Katie Hobbs said. “The Road to Rights program helps Arizona build a future where sex trafficking victims and survivors rights are restored, while also helping us improve voter registration efforts and opportunities in Arizona by ensuring that members of our most marginalized communities are able to participate in the democratic process.”
Road to Rights helps Arizona sex trafficking victims and survivors who were wrongly convicted of prostitution by:
- Clearing their charges
- Restoring their civil rights
- Helping them register to vote
If cleared, which is also known as vacated, survivors will be identified as victims of a crime, giving them access to:
- Open employment opportunities
- Participate in civic engagement opportunities
Victims and survivors convicted of prostitution who can show their charges were a result of sex trafficking are eligible to petition the court for restoration of their rights.
“The Road to Rights program restores the rights of survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation, while also aiding in restoring their autonomy, empowering them to participate in the civic engagement process, and ensuring they have a seat at the table,” Road to Rights Specialist Marli Mayon said.
Road to Rights is a free and accessible service for survivors looking for support in navigating the restoration of rights process. Specialists can aid in connecting the survivor with attorneys, accompaniment to court and voter registration among other things.
Anyone who was convicted of prostitution before July 24, 2014 as a result of sex trafficking is eligible to apply.
For questions about the Road to Rights Program, contact [email protected].