The Debt Bondage Repair Act (DBRA), passed as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, prohibits Consumer Reporting Agencies (“CRA”) from furnishing a consumer report containing any adverse item of information about a consumer that resulted from a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking. In June 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as directed by the DBRA, issued a comprehensive rule implementing this important new remedy for survivors and setting out a process for survivors to seek relief from adverse credit history.
This relief is a critically important aspect of addressing the long-term collateral consequences of trafficking victimization. Traffickers control their victims through subtle or overt means, including financial control over victims’ income or access to money, or through schemes that position survivors to be indebted to their trafficker. Traffickers may take out significant debt in their victims’ names or force victims to take out the loan themselves, resulting in default, judgments, and poor credit. If a victim can exit the life, this debt often follows them, impacting their ability to get safe and stable housing, employment, and even some professional licenses. The DBRA provides survivors with an opportunity to clear this adverse credit information, removing a barrier to obtaining housing and employment and helping survivors move towards greater financial stability and independence.
Dr. Marian Hatcher, a Shared Hope Policy Consultant, shares in her blog post, Removing a Hurdle on the Long Road to Healing; Human Trafficking Survivors Can Now Seek Relief from Adverse Credit History!, the importance and significance of the passing of DBRA.
So, no longer will we face credit issues with anxiety and dread. The Debt Bondage Repair Act puts survivors in the driver’s seat in reversing some of the financial harms of trafficking!!!