MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman has reportedly become the first person in Shelby County to have her criminal convictions expunged because they were connected to her status as a trafficking victim.
According to the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, a woman applied for six misdemeanor convictions to be expunged, citing a statue the Tennessee General Assembly enacted in 2019. Three were for prostitution and three were for theft.
The DA’s office says two arrests for being a pedestrian soliciting rides on a roadway were also expunged.
According to the DA’s office, the law usually only allows two convictions to be expunged, but prosecutors approved the woman’s petition after reviewing her criminal history and a sworn statement she submitted.
The woman’s statement reportedly explained that she was forced into criminal activity against her will. A judge later granted her petition for expungement.
The DA’s office says none of the woman’s offenses involved violence, weapons, or injuries to victims.
The DA’s office says this is first expungement of this nature in Shelby County and may be the first of its kind in the state.
“Giving people a fresh start is one of the best parts of our job, particularly victims of human trafficking,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a statement. “Our prostitution-diversion program, ‘Lives Worth Saving’, and this legislation recognize that victims of human traffickers, are not criminals.”