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Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking
Consumer Bureau announces rule on credit reporting that will help survivors rebuild their lives
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it is using its rulemaking authority to take steps to protect survivors of human trafficking.
“As survivors of human trafficking go through the recovery process, they shouldn't be penalized for abuse they have endured,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB's proposal will help ensure that survivors can work to rebuild their lives, including accessing credit, opening a bank account, and finding a job.”
The proposed rule would prevent credit reporting agencies (CRAs) from including negative information on a human trafficking survivor's credit report if the negative item is a result of the abuse the individual suffered.
The rulemaking comes in response to the Debt Bondage Repair Act that was signed into law in December of 2021.
The CFPB notes:
While being trafficked, many victims suffer from financial abuse, which is a common tactic used by traffickers to further exploit victims. Survivors and support organizations report that traffickers employ financial abuse as a means to earn money and as a method of control. After destroying their victims’ credit history and racking up charges in their names, traffickers know their victims will be unable to rent an apartment, purchase a car to go to work, or even find a job with a living wage.
The CFPB's proposed rule will help survivors of trafficking rebuild their lives by creating a status reporting system. Specifically:
Survivors will be able to submit documentation to CRAs showing that they are survivors of trafficking. The Bureau is proposing a broad definition of, and seeking comments on, appropriate forms of documentation to help all survivors receive the protections offered under the Debt Bondage Repair Act.
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