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President Will Sign Trafficking Bill and VAWA Reauthorization

On October 11, the Senate unanimously approved, 95-0, the conference report for a bill (H.R. 3244) to combat international trafficking in women and children, sending the measure to the President’s desk. The conference report includes a bill (H.R. 1248) to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and a bill (H.R. 894) dealing with the early release of violent sex offenders, known as “Aimee’s Law.” The House approved the conference report on October 6 (see The Source, 10/6/00, p. 1).

Prior to final passage, Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) raised a point of order against the section of the conference report containing Aimee’s Law. However, the chair of the Senate did not uphold the point of order. After appealing, the Senate voted 90-5 to uphold the chair’s ruling, thereby allowing a final vote on the conference report.

“The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 is the first piece of legislation to address the widespread practice of the trafficking of men, women, and children into sweatshop labor and sexual bondage,” stated Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), sponsor of the Senate legislation along with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). “Notably, this legislation is the most significant human rights bill of the 106th Congress,” stated Sen. Brownback.

Addressing the inclusion of the VAWA reauthorization measure, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) stated: “In my view, Congress must continue to address domestic violence in a comprehensive manner….This is a crime that we must put an end to and we must let those people who are suffering know there is help on the way.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) agreed: “Reauthorizing these programs sends a much needed message to those who even think about lifting a hand to a spouse or think about lifting a hand to an innocent child that we will not stand silently by and that we in fact will protect those victims of domestic violence.”

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