Human Trafficking Offenses in Background Checks

Within the last year, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) was revised to include a new section, 15 US Code § 1681c-3, titled “Adverse information in cases of trafficking”


What this section states is that when a victim of human trafficking commits a crime in connection with their trafficking, that crime may no longer be reported on a Consumer Report. What that really means is that if an applicant was at one point trafficked, any crime that they coerced into committing during that trafficking (prostitution, drug use, theft, etc.) may not be reported to a potential employer.

This begs the question, how does the background screener know? Unfortunately, this part of the law is a bit fuzzy and falls back onto the Adverse Action process. When the Consumer Report is returned to the employer and they choose not to hire the applicant, the applicant has the right to know why and to view the report. The applicant is then allowed to provide trafficking documentation (as provided by a state, federal, or tribal governmental agency or by a court of competent jurisdiction).

Failure to follow this new section of the law can put the background screener on the wrong side of the FCRA, so it’s important that they understand the ins and outs. You can read more about the specification here:

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