Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 613 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
Resolved, That upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider the conference report to accompany the bill (H.R. 3244) to combat trafficking of persons, especially into the sex trade, slavery, and slavery-like conditions, in the United States and countries around the world through prevention, through prosecution and enforcement against traffickers, and through protection and assistance to victims of trafficking. All points of order against the conference report and against its consideration are waived. The conference report shall be considered as read.
The gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce) is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to my colleague and friend, the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Slaughter), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of the resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.
Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 613 is a rule waiving all points of order against the consideration of the conference report to accompany H.R. 3244, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.
H.R. 3244 was passed by the House earlier this year on May 9 by voice vote. On September 27, our colleagues in the other body considered and passed this important legislation with an amendment by unanimous consent.
I would like to congratulate the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for introducing the legislation and for his steadfast support of human rights around the world.
I also would like to thank the gentleman from New York (Chairman Gilman); the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson), the ranking member; and all the conferees for their efforts.
Finally, I would like to extend a special thanks to my colleague and friend, the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), for all her work to fight violence against women; and I wish to congratulate her on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The conference report includes three divisions: division A includes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000; division B, I am pleased to inform my colleagues, includes the Violence Against Women Act of 2000; and division C consists of three other important anti-crime measures.
Division B reauthorizes through fiscal year 2005 the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, which expired just last week.
As a former prosecutor and judge who served on the Domestic Violence Task Force back in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, I have seen firsthand the ravages of domestic violence.
As such, I am firmly committed to doing all that I can to put an end to domestic violence and to ensure that victims have access to high-quality treatment, protective services, and ultimate justice.
The Department of Justice estimates that violence against women has decreased by 21 percent since this law was passed in 1994. By acting today, we will provide the needed protection to American women from the violence that seeks to destroy their lives; and, hopefully, these numbers will continue to decrease.
Specifically, the legislation authorizes $3 billion over the next 5 years to fund programs that support State and local efforts to shelter battered women, train police and court officials in domestic abuse cases, and provide counseling service as well as a hotline for battered women.
In addition, it enacts a number of new programs. It authorizes $10 million in grants for disabled victims of gender-motivated crimes and requires shelters to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mr. Speaker, additional funding is authorized to train emergency medical personnel in treating sexually abused patients, and it establishes procedures for handling evidence in rape cases.
The bill also ensures that the Legal Services Corporation grantees can help victims of sexual abuse obtain the needed assistance in civil cases against their attackers, and needed funding is provided for transitional housing assistance to women and their children when escaping domestic abuse.
Finally, this legislation doubles the amount authorized for the Violence Against Women Act over the next 5 years and extends the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund.
Mr. Speaker, women who suffer from violence need our help and assistance. They need to know that there is someone to turn to and someplace safe to go to escape from the violence which they too often suffer.
This reauthorization fills that need and sends a strong message that someone cares and that help is there.
Mr. Speaker, division A of this important legislation includes H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This legislation combats the trafficking of persons into the sex trade, slavery, and slavery-like conditions in the United States and many other countries around the world.
Through prevention, prosecution and enforcement against traffickers, as well as protection and assistance for victims of trafficking, this important legislation fairly allocates resources, modifies existing law, and increases international cooperation to decrease the global trade of men, women, and children.
According to the Department of State, between one and two million women and children are trafficked each year worldwide into forced labor, domestic servitude, or sexual exploitation. Incredible in this day and age.
Of these, approximately 50,000 individuals are trafficked to the United States each year. This is a major criminal enterprise generating billions of dollars annually. Trafficking is now considered the third largest source of profits for organized crime, behind only drugs and guns.
Victims of trafficking are first acquired in a number of different ways. Some are forcibly kidnapped and taken out of their own countries. Others are deceived with offers of good work or a better life. But no matter how they are taken, trafficking victims are universally subject to cruel mental and physical abuse, including beatings, rape, starvation, forced drug use, confinement and seclusion. Many victims suffer mental breakdowns and are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. Ultimately, many cannot survive these harsh conditions.
H.R. 3244 works to prevent trafficking through measures to increase awareness and enhance economic opportunity for potential victims of trafficking as a method to deter them from becoming victims in the first place. Further, this legislation urges countries to prohibit and punish severe forms of trafficking and establishes minimum standards applicable to countries that have a significant trafficking problem and assistance for programs and activities designed to meet the standards.
For those who are unfortunate enough to have been trafficking victims, the legislation establishes programs and initiatives to assist in their safe integration, reintegration, or resettlement. For victims located in the United States, the bill provides protection while in Federal custody and amends current law to grant nonimmigrant visas to victims who would face a significant possibility of retribution or other harm if they were forced to leave. In addition, we make those funds seized from traffickers available for victims' restitution and victims assistance programs.
Mr. Speaker, finally, division C includes three other important provisions which all passed the House earlier this year. The first bill, Aimee's Law, passed in July. That requires the Attorney General to transfer Federal law enforcement assistance funds from any State that convicted a person of a first offense of murder, rape or a dangerous sexual offense to the State that ultimately convicts that same person of a subsequent offense. In other words, Aimee's Law encourages States to keep murderers, rapists and child molesters behind bars and hold them financially accountable if they do not to the States that end up having to incarcerate on the second offense.
The second bill, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, also passed the House in July. It provides assistance to American victims of terrorism and allows those victims who prevail in court to collect against the frozen assets of terrorist countries. It is designed to send a strong message to terrorists and their state sponsors and will allow victims of past terrorist acts to finally receive some level of justice.
Finally, the third bill, the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act, passed the House in August. It grants States that have the authority to regulate interstate sale of alcohol within their borders the right to do so.
Mr. Speaker, this law is straightforward and noncontroversial. Its adoption will allow the House to consider and pass this important conference report. I urge all my colleagues to support both the rule and these essential provisions which seek to protect women, end violence, and fight crime.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Ohio for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Ms. SLAUGHTER asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, this resolution waives all points of order against the conference report on H.R. 3244 and against its consideration.
Mr. Speaker, in June 1994, I first introduced legislation addressing the growing problem of Burmese women and children being sold to work in the thriving sex industry in Thailand. This legislation responded to reports indicating that thousands of Burmese women and girls were being trafficked into Thailand with false promises of good-paying jobs in restaurants or factories and then forced to work in brothels under slavery-like conditions. Some of the victims were as young as 5 years old.
As I learned more about this issue, it became clear that it was not limited to one particular region of the world. In fact, in the wake of the discovery of a prostitution ring of trafficked women in Florida and the Carolinas, as well as a group of Thai garment workers held captive in California, I soon realized that this was an issue that must be dealt with in our own backyard as well.
Six years later I am proud to be standing here today to support this important legislation. H.R. 3244 sets forth policies not only to monitor but to eliminate trafficking here in the United States and abroad. More importantly, it does so in a way that punishes the true perpetrators, the traffickers themselves, while at the same time taking the necessary steps to protect the victims of this heinous crime. Finally, it uses our Nation's considerable influence throughout the world to put pressure on other nations to adopt policies that will hopefully lead to an end this abhorrent practice.
The bill recognizes the fact that trafficking is not exclusively a crime of sexual exploitation. Taken independently, this action is an egregious practice in and of itself. It is also important, however, to be aware that people are being illegally smuggled across borders to work in sweatshops, domestic servitude or other slavery-like conditions.
Mr. Speaker, developing this initiative has been a long and arduous process. At the beginning of this endeavor many of the groups involved had different approaches to defining and dealing with this issue. In addition, we also had to deal with a State Department that was less than cooperative when dealing with the Congress. Nevertheless, we are here today because this is an issue that is important enough to cross both partisan and personality divides.
Mr. Speaker, the conference report also reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act. I am proud to have a long history of activism on domestic violence issues. Fifteen years ago our greatest challenge was convincing Americans that domestic violence was a real problem. Many women knew only too well that we were in the midst of a deadly epidemic, but the culture of silence that surrounded the issue made it difficult for them to speak out or to get help. Being a victim of domestic violence was a source of fear and shame. Many women were trapped in these situations without any means of escape. Furthermore, domestic violence tended to be trivialized by law enforcement, by the judicial system, by health care providers and sometimes even by friends, family or neighbors.
We have come a long way in the 15 years since I began working on these issues. The single most important thing that Congress did to effect a change was pass the Violence Against Women Act. The Violence Against Women Act catapulted domestic violence onto the national agenda, providing Federal support for programs like shelters for battered women and their children, education for law enforcement officers and judges, and resources mostly for prevention and education. I am proud to have been the author of provisions of VAWA that protected battered immigrant women who were often trapped in abusive relationships by the threat of deportation. VAWA transformed the national landscape for victims of domestic violence. Today, a woman in an abusive relationship has options, a place to live, help with court proceedings, assistance for herself and her children, and protection from her batterer.
Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go. Too many women still die at the hands of an abusive spouse or boyfriend. Protective orders can be ineffective. Going on welfare is far from an ideal choice even as a temporary step. Convictions against batterers remain infrequent and penalties can be extremely light. It is imperative that Congress reauthorize these vital programs.
Also included in this conference report are miscellaneous provisions relating to Aimee's Law, assistance to victims of terrorism and the Twenty-First Amendment Act regarding Internet alcohol sales.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions) my distinguished colleague from the Committee on Rules.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from the Committee on Rules, the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce), for not only working on this issue but also my other colleague, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter), for her work on this important issue.
Mr. Speaker, today we are talking about the conference report on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. In particular, we are trying to draw attention to the importance of what the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 is all about.
Mr. Speaker, for quite some time I have been engaged in trying to work with women's centers in Dallas, Texas, who every day are a part of the lives of thousands of women who are taken advantage of in marriage, taken advantage of not only because of the frailties that they have as the caregivers for children, women who are responsible for making sure that a family works together and stays together and many times are in a marriage that is very difficult.
The Violence Against Women Act of 2000 is important because it once again enunciates by the House of Representatives that this is a crime that is taking place all across America, violence against women, that we will not tolerate. Most importantly, the gentlewoman from Ohio is speaking up about the importance of the issue so that it is not hidden in the work that Congress does. It is important that we support not only this conference report but that we recognize that America and the importance that we put on solving this national epidemic are brought to the forefront, the importance of Congress and the importance of a public policy that we have.
Mr. Speaker, the gentlewoman from Ohio is not only a leader in our Congress but she is a leader for women in this area. I salute her and applaud her for the hard work that she has put in on this act.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott).
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time. I rise in opposition to the rule. While the provisions relating to addressing sex trafficking and violence against women are essentially noncontroversial and should be enacted, this does not apply to section 2001 of the bill which includes the controversial Aimee's Law. I am aware of the political adage that no good politician will vote against a crime bill named after somebody, but I thought that before we vote on this rule that we want to think about some evaluations of Aimee's Law.
The bill is onerous, impractical and unworkable. It is worse than an unfunded mandate. It is certain to generate a morass of bureaucracy. It is enormously costly. And the probable public safety impact of the bill will be zero.
These are not my words but the words of the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the United States Department of Justice, and a noted criminologist. Despite all of these critical descriptions, the bill comes before us on the suspension calendar hooked up with noncontroversial items. Ask your governors and State legislators whether or not they believe that it will help victims of crime or simply allow Members to take credit for passing a good sound bite while avoiding doing anything the experts say will actually reduce crime, that is, investing in prevention programs.
Supporters of Aimee's Law say that it will prevent murderers, rapists and child molesters from committing second offenses. It requires the Attorney General to transfer a portion of one State's Federal money to another State each time a murderer or rapist released from the first State commits such an offense in the second State, unless the first State has either truth-in-sentencing or the person is sentenced to an above average time to be served. That above average can change from year to year. Since truth-in-sentencing and determinate sentencing are recent sentencing practices and there is no limit on how far back you have to go to find prior convictions, trying to determine the information necessary to implement this provision will be a bureaucratic nightmare for the Attorney General and the States. So the fact is that the provision has a lot more to do with requiring bureaucratic processing and exchanging Federal funds than it has to do with preventing crime.
Aside from the impracticality of implementing this provision, even if the bureaucratic exchanges could occur, the net result will probably be a wash between States passing money back and forth. Further, States concerned about the fiscal impact of the bill or those wishing to cash in on it can play games. For instance, plea bargaining a high charge with a low sentence so that you can get the money rather than a lower charge like manslaughter with a higher sentence and you can cash in and get the money.
The fact is that no State without truth-in-sentencing will implement truth-in-sentencing as a result of this bill. That is because truth-in-sentencing in Virginia costs billions of dollars and no State will incur that kind of expense to avoid a few hundred thousand dollars that this bill might actually cost them.
All in all, the rule perpetuates sound-bite politics at its worst. It tacks on to two noncontroversial provisions; a provision which creates a bureaucratic nightmare for the States and the Federal Government by second-guessing the sentences on crimes that have already occurred with no discernible effect on the crime rate.
Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I urge that the rule be defeated, so that we can remove this provision and get on with well thought-out legislation which will actually reduce crime and help victims.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to my friend, the distinguished gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Kelly), who has worked so hard on many of these provisions.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this rule and the underlying bill, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Conference Report.
The package of legislation we have before us is critically important to the lives of millions of people across the world and here at home. Passage of this package will have a tremendously positive effect on the quality of life for millions of people across the world.
Just over a week ago, I joined my good friend, the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), here on the floor to urge support for H.R. 1248, the Violence Against Women Act of 1999. Today, we have yet another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to this important legislation. While the Justice Department has estimated that since the start of the VAWA programs in 1994, domestic violence has dropped by almost 21 percent, this epidemic is not over yet. Still today, one in three girls age 16 to 19 will be abused by their boyfriends, and it is estimated that approximately 3 million children witness domestic abuse in their homes.
The legislation we have before us today will take a serious step towards breaking this cycle of violence and providing a better future, not only for the millions of women who have come to rely upon the services provided under VAWA, but also for the millions of teens and children who will now have access to services and will see that violence is not necessarily a way of life.
I would also like to take a moment to note that this legislation includes a measure I introduced in Congress to strengthen the Federal anti-stalking statute, the Stalking Prevention and Victim Protection Act. This bill, which passed the House unanimously last November, strengthens current law, which stipulates that one must travel across State lines in order to commit a Federal stalking offense. My measure acknowledges that stalking can be perpetrated through other mediums, such as over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet.
Today we again have the opportunity to help millions of people feel a little safer, knowing that we are here, that we are listening, and that we will once again fulfill our promise and continue to supply the resources to help them escape from abuse and end the cycle of violence.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend, the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), for her tireless efforts on behalf of these men and women. I would like to thank my friend, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), and my friend, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum), who helped move this legislation forward.
I urge my colleagues to help me in supporting this rule and the underlying bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler).
Mr. Speaker, I am very gratified to see that the Violence Against Women Act is finally here on the floor in a conference report so that we are going to pass it. For reasons I stated on the floor before and many others have said today, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is a tremendously important thing to do. I am unhappy that it is grouped with four completely unrelated other bills in this one bill, some of which I would vote for, and some against.
It is grouped with part of the sex trafficking act. We all want to put an end to sex trafficking. That is a good provision.
Victims of terrorism, to make it easier for victims to sue, a very good provision. It has nothing to do with the other bill, but it is a very good provision.
But then we have two other bills that are not too good. We have the Internet Alcohol Act, which is a commercial dispute between rival groups and should not be in this bill; and we have Aimee's Law, an extremely foolish political sound bite, which will have no impact except to cost States money and to create more bureaucracy.
Let us look at how ridiculous Aimee's Law, at least the version of Aimee's Law we have here, is. What this says is if someone is convicted of murder, rape or dangerous sexual offenses in one State, serves a jail term, and is subsequently released and then commits a similar crime in another State, the first State has to pay all the costs of incarceration and legal proceedings in the second State if the first State is a bad State.
What do we mean by a bad State? If the individual had served less than 85 percent of the term of imprisonment; or, if the individual had served more than 85 percent of the maximum sentence, if the average term of imprisonment imposed by the State for these kinds of offenses is less than the average term imposed for that offense in all States?
In other words, State A imposes an average sentence of 25 years. The national average is 27 years. Well, obviously State A had better improve its law. That is what we are saying. State A now changes its law to 28 years. That changes the average, and some other States change the average. State A is a bad State again, and it is going to be penalized if someone after serving 28 years goes out and commits another crime in a different State.
Now, you have got a moving target here. I do not think the drafters of this act thought through, and since I do not think there was a committee vote on this bill, there was no opportunity for amendments, it never was properly debated. And what ever happened to our concern for States to be able to write their own criminal justice laws? Here we are telling them, you had better keep ratcheting up your terms of imprisonment, no matter what you think is right, to match everybody else's, lest we charge you.
Now, it is not going to have a major practical effect, because the fact is that it is very rare for people to be convicted in a second State, but it is foolish and ought not be in this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Foley).
Mr. Speaker, let me thank the gentlewoman from Ohio for her leadership in bringing this rule to the floor.
I suggest to the gentleman from New York, when he makes statements like ``this is a foolish bill,'' Aimee's Law, I would ask him to read the text of the bill, because I guess if your family or friends or someone close to you had been murdered, raped or molested, you would not think this was such a foolish exercise. In fact, these are some of the crimes that have the highest degree of recidivism, and in fact in Florida we have suffered from people being released from prison and then coming to perpetrate the same murder and rape on innocent people in our State.
So I commend the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Salmon) for his introduction of Aimee's Law, and I commend my colleagues for its passage, because I think it will help tighten, if you will, laws that affect people's lives, those who have been raped, some who have been murdered, children who have been molested. They need the full protection of the law, not protecting those who committed the crime.
I commend also the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Scarborough) for his 21st Amendment Enforcement, and I am glad if is part of this bill. Hopefully it will lead to less drinking by underage people who may have found through the Internet chances to purchase alcohol. I think this is a very, very important provision.
Justice for victims of terrorism, that is extremely important in this bill.
The gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), obviously with Violence Against Women, another subject that the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce) has been very involved in, is an essential bill to our society. There is far too much prevalence of violence against women, domestic disputes; and we have to strengthen the law. We have to provide and strengthen services for victims. We have to do more to combat violence in families that can lead to the destruction, not only of a person's individual life, but the destruction of the children that are forced to watch this kind of parental misdeed, if you will.
Also on the first, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, it is again a very important provision of the bill. I think if people read through the bill, they would not use words like ``foolish'' or ``political sound bites,'' but recognize these are indeed very, very important issues.
In fact, in Florida we had a professor at a university that had brought a child into this country, lured from his parents, brought here strictly for sexual services. He was underage. He was paid money. The parents were paid money under the assumption that the child was going to be given a better life in America. Regrettably, it was not for a better life, it was for sexual exploitation, right in my own community of Palm Beach County. Fortunately, the man is in jail. The law has dealt with this person. But, regrettably, there is not enough internationally being done in other countries to make certain that they are enforcing the laws as well.
So this goes to the heart of both domestic combatting of these issues, as well as working with our foreign colleagues, foreign governments, in order to meet a higher standard, an international standard for elimination of the trafficking of individuals.
So I commend my colleagues to vote for the entirety of this report. I think it is a solid bill. Again, I commend the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce) for her leadership on this, and I urge my colleagues to support it and its passage.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lofgren).
Mr. Speaker, there is much that is good in this bill before us today. I am particularly gratified that the efforts to fight trafficking in the sex trade have been included in this matter, so that we can actually get success in the fight against that this year.
I think the provision of visas for those who are fleeing from their oppressors, whether it be sweatshop or sexual abuse, is extremely important.
Obviously, the Violence against Women Act is enormously important. And although reasonable people can differ, and I think there is a technical issue in the Aimee's Law provision that absolutely must be corrected, that I think the ranking member of the committee will raise and hopefully will be able to deal with, I also support the Aimee's Law concept.
That is why I am so upset that with all of these good things that we would have bipartisan support on, and I think nearly overwhelming support, that, for some reason, the provision, the very controversial provision, about Internet and wine sales has been included in this matter. It does not belong in this package of bills. It is not about protecting children from abuse, and it just really is very distressing.
I have two teenagers, and they are good kids and their friends are good kids, and the argument that has been advanced is that we have to prohibit the Internet sale of wine to protect children.
Well, as a mother of two, that is preposterous. If a kid wanted to go out and buy alcohol, they are not going to get on the Internet, pay 20 bucks a bottle for wine in my district, or up in the Napa Valley, wait a couple of weeks for it to be delivered, and that is how they are doing underage drinking. That is not the way the real world works.
So, I urge a no vote on the rule in protest for this Internet wine sales tax. It is just so distressing that it has been included.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the sponsor of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my very good friend for yielding and her good work and leadership on this issue.
I say to my colleagues, this is the result of an enormous amount of bipartisanship. The legislation, division A, which deals with trafficking of women, we all know now that especially with the break up of the Soviet Union and the ascendancy of the Mob, organized crime in Moscow, in the Ukraine, and all around the world, is trafficking in women and children as never before.
The estimates are as high as 2 million individuals, mostly women, who are being trafficked every year. About 50,000 are coming into the United States, and many of those are forced into prostitution.
Our legislation, and, again I want to thank the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson) who has worked so closely on this, has been very bipartisan. It throws the book at those who would commit these heinous crimes and make money off the exploitation of women and children.
Our legislation provides $95 million over 2 years for enforcement of anti-trafficking provisions. But, again, the life imprisonment aspect to it, the protection for the women themselves so they are not put on the next plane and sent back to Kiev or St. Petersburg or anywhere else where they might be in danger is very important. We try to put sandbags of protection around them and to say we will help you, we will give you a hand and assistance, and that is what this legislation does.
There are many other aspects to it. It is a comprehensive bill. We have had three hearings in my subcommittee on this issue, and we heard from the victims themselves, who talked about how even the NGOs, like Miramed in St. Petersburg, which is out there on the cutting edge trying to help these women, are under tremendous duress by the Mafia, as well as very much underfunded.
We want all of the world's governments, especially those that are countries of origination, to do all that they can to mitigate and hopefully end this egregious practice.
Division B, the Violence against Women Act, provides about $3.3 billion over 5 years, more than double the current programs, to increase law enforcement and expand shelter space and rehab programs for battered and abused women.
There are many, many important grants articulated in the legislation, like the $140 million for Violent Crimes Against Women on Campus Grants, to ensure that our young women on the college campuses are protected to the maximum degree possible, and then $60 million for the Safe Havens Project; and, very significantly, the money for the shelters is increased by $375 million to a total of $875 million to protect battered women and their children.
There is also legislation, as my colleagues heard, dealing with Aimee's Law. Aimee's Law passed overwhelming in this House. It ought to be part of this package, and it will hopefully prevent those who have high rates of recidivism, the rapists, the murderers so they do not get out early to recommit these crimes, because we know that there are thousands of those who commit the crimes upon their release.
Mr. Speaker, I urge support for the rule, and then I hope for support of the underlying conference report.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, there are many people to thank this morning. I add my appreciation to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) for his leadership and the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella) and to the ranking member and chairman and the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce).
This bill has many good elements. I would argue that we have thrown out a fishnet and gotten some elements that I think deserve a lot of consideration, and I wish we had not done that. I rise to support the concepts in this bill and would hope that we would be able be fix some of the elements that need not be included.
Particularly, let me appreciate the battered immigrant provisions that have come from the legislation that the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky) and the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella) and myself have sponsored, H.R. 3083. We had a hearing on the bill in the committee that I serve on, the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. And I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), my chairman.
I say to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), I had the unfortunate privilege of visiting in Bangladesh, women who were battered, as well as women who were sold into slavery, sold for sexual activities, and see the children, see the abuse, the depression, the mutilation, the injuries that they suffered. So this bill is extremely important.
Mr. Speaker, I thank the Committee on International Relations and all of those who worked on the human rights aspect to stop that. It is also important to recognize that VAWA that gives rights to American women finally will reach a point where we can see it reauthorized and have the centers open, protect the children who have seen abuse in their homes.
Mr. Speaker, I do want to thank the conference committee for putting in the elements dealing with battered immigrant women, because without those elements, VAWA did not cover immigrant women; in particular, we would find situations where the abuser would hold it over the head of the immigrant woman that you can stay here all the time and I can abuse you, but you will not have the rights to access relief under VAWA.
Take, for example, the idea of an abuser saying to the abused that I will keep you from being a citizen or legal resident, because all you came to do was to come here to this country with your children and seek to be a legal resident, and, therefore, I will punish you and I will continue to abuse you.
Mr. Speaker, I am gratified that elements that will allow for self-petition are included in this legislation and that an abused woman can as well seek that.
Finally, let me say that I hope we can improve some elements of this bill. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter) for yielding me the time.
Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor today in my capacity as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. Inside this report is the agreement authorizing VAWA, and some very important provisions that deal with Battered Immigrant Women. I joined with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congresswoman Connie Morella to sponsor H.R. 3083, The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 1999, would provide much needed access to battered immigrant victims of domestic violence. Fortunately, many of the provisions of this bill were included in this conference report.
These provisions are important because but for the failure of citizens or permanent resident abusers to submit immigration petitions for their immigrant spouses and children, the beneficiaries of the Battered Immigrant provisions would already have lawful immigration status through a family-based visa petition.
A citizen or permanent resident batterer often manipulates such misconceptions by convincing his victim that he will prevail in court because he is a male and he has more money. Moreover, a batterer often uses his immigration status against his victim as a tool of control, threatening to report her to INS or refusing or withdrawing immigration petitions that would grant her status.
I am relieved to stand before the House in order that we might be able to consider legislation that will reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) before the close of the 106th Congress. This act was first passed in 1994, and it marked a turning point in our nation's response to family violence, offering states a comprehensive means of addressing domestic violence and sexual assault. Although VAWA has contributed to a decline in the rates of domestic violence, there is still much work to be done.
We know that more than 3 million women have been abused since Congress began considering reauthorization of the VAWA in 1999. If Congress does not act by October 13th, VAWA will be lost to those women and their children who are victimized by family violence. The sad fact is that the victims of violence are not limited to women and in some cases men, but it can also extend to their children. It is estimated that 9,000 children, in our nation, witness family violence everyday. Each year, just about 3.3 million children witness their mothers or female caretakers being abused. Further, forty to sixty percent of men who abuse women also abuse children.
Family violence also extends to non-married women. Young women, between the age of 16 and 24 in dating relationships experience the highest rate of domestic violence and sexual assault. While an average of 28 percent of high school and college students experience the highest rate of domestic violence and sexual assault. Twenty-six percent of pregnant teens reported being physically abused by their boyfriends--about half of them said the battering began or intensified after he learned of her pregnancy.
We need to expand VAWA and increase funding to support it. In the last six months, calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline have increased from 8,000 to 13,000 calls a month. More women and children are seeking the safety of shelters, stretching shelter resources to the limits. Protections for young women, who are at the greatest risk of dating violence and sexual assault, are also severely lacking.
This bill includes provisions similar to the House-passed H.R. 1248 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for five years. The House bill authorized more than $3 billion in FY 2001 through FY 2005 for programs to combat violence against women, including battered women's shelters and services, sexual assault prevention programs and education and training for judges.
The separate VAWA legislation has been merged with H.R. 3244, the Conference Report on International Sex Trafficking, a bill intended to directs the Justice, Labor and Health and Human Services departments to expand assistance to victims of severe forms of trafficking in the United States. The measure also allows the Justice Department to make grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations to expand services for victims of trafficking. most of our nation's citizens may still believe that the trafficking of human beings ended with the Fourteenth Amendment to our Nation's Constitution, which outlawed the practice of slavery.
This conference report also includes the bill H.R. 2031, which addresses concerns regarding the sale of alcohol over the Internet. The conference agreement grants state attorneys general authority to bring a civil action in federal courts to enforce state laws that outlaw the direct sale of alcohol over the Internet. The provision is similar to the House-passed H.R. 2031, and to Senate provisions in its version of the juvenile justice bill (H.R. 1501).
In addition this conference report also includes H.R. 894, titled Aimee's Law, that requires a state that releases a violent sexual offender who commits a similar crime in another state to reimburse the second state for costs related to the incarceration, prosecution and apprehension of the individual. This provision is similar to provisions in the House version of the juvenile justice bill (H.R. 1501).
This law provides that whenever someone convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense is released from prison and commits another such offense in another state, the state from which the offender was released will be liable for the cost of apprehension, prosecution, incarceration, and the victim's damages (i.e., up to $100,000 for each victim).
The Attorney General is also directed to pay these costs and damages from the Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Funds which the state of origin. The costs and damage provisions, which are paid out of federal law enforcement assistance funds, are designed to leverage states into passing tougher sentences regarding these crimes or risk losing federal funds.
I have concerns that this bill is premised on a ``Sense of Congress'' that anyone convicted of these crimes should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Before taking such drastic actions, I believe that we need to better define the criminal offenses of which one may be convicted. I suggest that we work to narrow the definition of which crimes trigger punishment.
However, I realize, as do most Americans that prevention is the best strategy and if this type of law would provide the appropriate disincentive for potential murderers or rapists, I must also recognize this benefit.
As expressed in the Subcommittee Crime hearings, this law, under the definition of Dangerous Sexual Offense in H.R. 894, does not require any age difference between victim and offender on which to base an assumption of predation.
Consequently, unlike other laws that make no such distinction, there is more potential for this bill to have an impact on the sexual abuse of American children.
As a parent, I sympathize with proponents of this bill that want adequate punishment against those convicted of sexual assault, rape or murder. As a mother, a member of Congress and founder of the Congressional Children's Caucus, I cannot in good faith support the maintenance of laws that create loopholes for sexual predators.
Every 19 seconds a girl or women is raped, every 70 seconds a child is molested and every 70 seconds a child or adult is murdered. Yet, despite these horrific statistics, the average time served in prison for rape is 5 years and the average time served in prison for molesting a child is less than 4 years.
We cannot tolerate the perpetuation of violent crimes against women and children any longer! This bill provides states the financial incentive to enact effective legislation that will keep repeat violent offenders behind bars.
We cannot allow states to continue to act irresponsibly in the prosecution of sexual predators. We all need to work together to help spare families the needless tragedy of having to put to rest their children because the state failed to effectively prosecute a sexual predator.
I am horrified by the story of Aimee Willard, for which this law is named. I hope that no family will ever have to suffer through such a tragedy again, but unfortunately I know that this is not true.
I ask that my colleagues put aside their politics and think about the children and families that have been affected because of a lack of adequate enforcement of the laws. Our children need protection now.
Last, this conference report also includes language intended to address the needs of the Victims of Terrorism by allowing victims of terrorism or their families in the United States to recover judgments against countries listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. (Currently, the frozen assets of nations that allegedly support terrorism are protected from U.S. court judgments if the president declares it in the national security interest to leave them untouched.) Under the agreement, the president would have the authority to differentiate, on an asset-by-asset basis, the premises of foreign diplomatic missions, but not commercial property or rental proceeds from diplomatic property eligible to be protected.
I would hope that we will remember that one of the most deadly terrorist attacks to occur in this country was not caused by a foreign government or international group, but by people who thought of themselves as American patriots, I am referring to the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 167 men, women and infants. I applaud any effort to make those responsible for terrorism, which results in loss of life or property civilly and criminally responsible for their actions. However, I would caution not to join those who believe that by virtue of the fact that someone is born outside of the United States that some how their act of terrorism is much more grievous than one that is carried out by a fellow American citizen. For this reason, I support this effort, but I would also encourage this body to make those of our citizens convicted to terrorist acts be equally held criminally and civilly liable for their actions.
All of the measures, which are included in this conference report are important to the American people, it is unfortunate that they could not have been considered individually.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Salmon), the author of Aimee's Law.
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the author of the bill here on the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for all of his support for Aimee's Law.
I would like to thank him for putting together such a wonderful piece of legislation in the first place, because this is all about victims. It is about victims who are slave traded. It is about victims, women who are harmed across the country in many, many different ways. It is about little children who are victims.
I would like to speak specifically about Aimee's Law. I would like to go back down to memory lane 3 years ago when I introduced this bill. I had a dinner with several victims rights advocates: Fred Goldman whose son Ron was murdered, with Mary Vincent who was kidnapped when she was 15 years old while she was walking along the road. She was raped and had her arms chopped off. She walked for 2 miles to safety and survived to testify against her perpetrator who, by the way, was let out of prison and then killed a mother of 5.
I remember Mika Moulton whose little boy was stabbed 66 times and left in a shallow grave; that in and of itself is heinous enough, but the fact that this boy, this young man that did this to her son was let out of prison for killing a 5-year-old girl and raping her with a stick ought to make your blood curdle.
The fact is 14,000 rapes, murders and molestations occur every year, and they are 100 percent preventable. We heard some people on the other side of the aisle who have some heartburn about this. Let us make government be accountable.
These are not just statistics. These are people who are dying. These are people being raped. These are children being molested. We have an opportunity to do something about it to make the States be accountable if they let someone out of prison who poses a threat to society, then there should be a price to pay, and that is what this is about.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers).
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter) for yielding the time to me.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Salmon for his work, and I just wanted to ask a question in colloquy. Am I correct that it is the intent of the Congress that Aimee's Law shall apply prospectively; that is, only if offenders whose first sentence for a covered offense occurred on or after the effective date of this law, which is January 1, 2002?
Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.
Mr. Speaker, as it is currently drafted, that is my understanding, yes.
Reclaiming my time, I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Roemer).
(Mr. ROEMER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, at this time of day, all across this great country from San Diego to New York, from Wisconsin to Louisiana, our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles are concerned about the same thing, and that is the safety of our children in our schools; whether those children are in classrooms or playgrounds, inner-city or rural schools, our parents share this concern about their safety.
I want to point out, I hope, a noncontroversial part of this bill and salute the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), for a provision that mirrors a bill that the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman) and I introduced called the Secure Our Schools Act, that will provide $30 million each year for 3 years for a total of $90 million to help our schools be safe and secure, especially in light of the gun violence that has taken place in our schools over the last 3 years.
The beauty of this bill is that this provides Federal resources to our local schools but lets the local school determine what to spend this money on. Should they spend it on a metal detector? Yes, they could. And could they spend it on a handheld metal device for security? Yes, they could. Security training for teachers, police officers, students? Yes, that is an allowable expense.
These are competitive grants issued for the Department of Justice and the Attorney General to help our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles make sure that they feel good about the safety and security of our schools. This is a good partnership for our government to enter into. I am proud of this provision and proud to support this provision in this law.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in support of H.R. 3244 and most of the provisions of this conference report. I want to thank the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Pryce) and the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter), the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), and the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson) and thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman Hyde) and the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), the ranking member, for their diligence in crafting this report, which includes several important provisions that will literally save the lives of women and girls around the world.
When I had the privilege of traveling with the President to India, I saw little girls who had been sold into the sex industry. No child should be subjected to such horrors. We know that the Violence Against Women Act has saved lives and helped to rebuild even more. And I am grateful that my provisions to expand legal protections for battered immigrant women and children and to fund transitional housing for domestic abuse victims were included in the report.
The 1996 immigration laws made some changes that forced many immigrant women to remain in dangerous situations, putting themselves and their children at great risk. Today we have the opportunity to end this injustice. With the passage of this conference report, immigrant women will be empowered to move away from their abusers. They will have the additional legal protections along with access to critical transitional housing services that will enable them to alleviate the abuse and break the cycle of violence.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this conference report.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney).
(Mrs. MALONEY of New York asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Slaughter) for her leadership and yielding the time to me.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule because it couples many unrelated nongermane provisions to two underlying bills that are tremendously important, the Violence Against Women Act and the antitrafficking bill. These bills will literally save lives, and they have been a top priority this year of the bipartisan women's caucus.
In this month alone, approximately 75,000 women will become victims of beatings, and in many cases their children will be attacked as well. The Violence Against Women Act has been, and must, remain a powerful tool in the fight against domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. Domestic violence is the number one health risk for women between the ages of 15 and 44, and close to a third of all the women murdered in America are killed by their husbands or boyfriends.
This conference report authorizes more than $3 billion over the next 5 years to combat violence in our families and homes and schools through September 2000, from the first VAWA grant. My home State of New York received over $97 million in funding, but you cannot measure the value of that funding unless you look into the eyes of a child who has witnessed the violence in the home. There is no cost too great for preventing this tragedy.
The Violence Against Women Act will do many good things. It has a hot line, and in New York City alone, in 1999, over 169,000 calls were received. I am very pleased that two provisions were added to the bill from my Older American's Protection from Violence Act, H.R. 2590.
My bill specifically allows VAWA programs to help older and disabled women, and they were included in this bill, specifically a grant program to address domestic violence among older women and the disabled. It is a proud day. I compliment all who have worked to make this pass to stop the Violence Against Women Act.
Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, let me remind my colleagues that this conference report includes essential provisions in our fight to halt the trafficking of individuals, end family violence, deter terrorism and fight crime.
The House has already passed these initiatives separately. This conference report will allow us to send this package to the President for his signature. Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of the straightforward rule.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.
The previous question was ordered.
The question is on the resolution.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 356, nays 28, not voting 49, as follows:
Ms. DeGETTE, Mrs. CLAYTON, Ms. LEE, Mr. WU and Ms. PELOSI changed their vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''
So the resolution was agreed to.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 613, I call up the conference report on the bill (H.R. 3244) to combat trafficking of persons, especially into the sex trade, slavery, and slavery-like conditions in the United States and countries around the world through prevention, through prosecution and enforcement against traffickers, and through protection and assistance to victims of trafficking.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
Pursuant to House Resolution 613, the conference report is considered as having been read.
(For conference report and statement, see proceedings of the House of October 5, 2000 at page H8855.)
The gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) and the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson) each will control 30 minute.
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on the conference report on H.R. 3244.
Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent, after consulting with the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson), the ranking member of the other committee, that we cut our time in half, all of us, because I have been besieged by Members who have commitments and plane tickets; and that is the only reason that I would do that.
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the time allotted to all of the committees be cut in half.
Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) that the time be limited to 15 minutes for the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman) and 15 minutes for the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson)?
There was no objection.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the conference report on H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
I was proud to cosponsor this measure. I am pleased that we have been able to steer this important measure all the way through the process and on towards the President's desk.
I especially want to commend two Members of our committee's leadership who have made this legislation possible. I commend the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the distinguished chairman of our Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, who is the lead sponsor of this measure and a tireless proponent. He was joined in refining the legislation, pushing it through the process by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Gejdenson), the distinguished ranking Democratic member of our committee.
As noted in the legislation, millions of people, primarily women and children, are trafficked every year across international borders for sexual and other exploitive purposes. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States for such purposes every year.
The conference report on this measure contains a number of provisions designed to make certain that our government uses its influence around the world to stop this trafficking of human beings. In addition, it enhances some protections on the U.S. law for victims of trafficking in our country.
Although the administration initially opposed the legislation, I am pleased they have now considered their position and ultimately came to recognize the necessity for this measure.
The conferees on the measure were pleased to incorporate a number of other pending measures into the conference report.
Most of these additions have greatly strengthened the conference report. Three of these additions are bills that I strongly support, and I am pleased to be able to help send them to the President's desk.
The Violence Against Women's Act, Aimee's Law, and the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act are all included in this conference report, and all are important measures that are overwhelmingly supported by the House.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the conference report on H.R. 3244, the ``Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.''
I was proud to cosponsor H.R. 3244, and am pleased that we have been able to steer this important measure all the way through the legislative process and on toward the President's desk.
I especially want to commend two members of our Committee whose leadership has made this legislation possible. The distinguished chairman of our Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Smith was the lead sponsor of this measure and a tireless proponent of it. He was joined in refining the legislation and pushing it through the legislative process by the distinguished Ranking Democratic Member of our Committee, the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson.
As noted in the legislation, millions of people, primarily women and children, are trafficked every year across international borders for sexual or other exploitative purposes. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States for such purposes every year.
The conference report on H.R. 3244 contains a number of provisions designed to ensure that the United States Government uses its influence around the world to stop this trafficking in human beings. In addition, it enhances the protections under U.S. law for victims of trafficking in the United States.
The legislation establishes minimum standards that should be achieved in countries with significant trafficking problems in order for them to begin eliminating trafficking. The bill authorizes U.S. foreign assistance to help countries meet these minimum standards, and provides for sanctions against countries that fail to meet the standards. In the typical case this threat should provide a powerful incentive to countries with trafficking problems to meet the minimum standards.
Within the United States, the legislation permits certain victims of trafficking to remain in the country so that, among other things, they can assist in the prosecution of traffickers. Victims of severe forms of trafficking are also made eligible for special programs set up for crime victims. The legislation also strengthens the criminal penalties for trafficking under U.S. law in a number of critical respects.
Taken together, this is a solidly-crafted piece of legislation that addresses an urgent moral and humanitarian problem. Although the Administration initially opposed the legislation, I am pleased that they reconsidered their position and ultimately came to recognize the necessity for this measure.
The conferees on H.R. 3244 were pleased to incorporate a number of other pending measures into the conference report.
Most of these additions have greatly strengthened the conference report.
Three of these additions are bills that I have strongly supported and that I am pleased to be able to help send to the President's desk.
The Violence Against Women Act, Aimee's Law, and the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act are all included in this conference report, and all are important measures that are overwhelmingly supported in the House of Representatives.
For all these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote for this conference report.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time; and pending that, I ask unanimous consent that the balance of my time be controlled by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the distinguished chairman of our Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, the principle sponsor of the bill.
Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?
There was no objection.
Mr. Speaker, I yield half of my time to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), and I ask unanimous consent that he be permitted to control that time.
Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Connecticut?
There was no objection.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
Mr. Speaker, I rise with some reluctance to support the conference report because I wanted a clean bill concerning the Trafficking Victims and Violence Against Women's Act, both of which passed the House with strong bipartisan support.
So the bill continues funding for important Violence Against Women Act programs such as enforcement and prosecution grants to combat violence against women, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, battered women's shelters and services. But it also takes important preliminary steps to address dating violence.
Now, we would not be here without the organizations that work with us in the Congress, and I just wanted to get into the Record: NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Task Force to End Domestic Violence, and the Feminists Majority.
Now, the legislation, I must say, does not go far enough on VAWA, and we are going to continue this struggle. It leaves out many critical programs that were in the House-passed bill. For example, we have not allowed the provisions to more adequately fund rape prevention and education programs, civil legal assistance and STOP grants. There is less money allocated to victims services.
The conference falls short. But the bill does the special-interest bidding for alcohol wholesalers and effectively allows the shutdown of e-commerce by wineries. What, I ask, does this have to do with the victims of sex trafficking? Answer: nothing.
Mr. Speaker, I rise with some reluctance to support the Conference Report. I had hoped that we would be voting on a clean bill concerning the Trafficking Victims and Violence Against Women Act, both of which passed the Houses with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, something dire happened on the way to the altar.
Whenever the Republican majority wants to pass legislation to protect women, they will only do it half way. On the one hand, the bill before us continues funding for important VAWA programs such as law enforcement and prosecution grants to combat violence against women, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, battered women's shelters and services. The bill also takes important preliminary steps to address dating violence. For these positive things, I would like to particularly note the hard work of Leslie Orloff, Janice Kaguyutan, Pat Reuss and Jackie Payne of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Julie Fulcher of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and all the people at the National Task Force to End Domestic Violence.
On the other hand, I must report that the legislation does not go far enough on VAWA, leaving out many of the critical programs in the House passed bill. For example, the Majority refused to include the more generous House VAWA provisions to more adequately fund rape prevention and education programs, civil legal assistance and STOP grants. I am also disturbed that less money is allocated to victims' services, the scope of civil legal assistance to be offered is narrowed and the types of organizations that qualify to provide assistance is limited.
The conference report also falls short with regard to the victims of sex trafficking. The bill still contains a 5,000 cap on the number of victims eligible to receive a ``T'' visa, despite the House's motion to instruct the conferees to remove the cap. Moreover, parents of victims are not eligible for derivative immigration status despite clear evidence that the traffickers will threaten to injure or kill the parents living abroad to prevent the victim from assisting in a criminal prosecution.
If this weren't enough, this bill does the special interest bidding for the alcohol wholesalers, effectively allowing the shut down of e-commerce by wineries. What, I ask, does this special interest legislation have to do with victims of sex trafficking. Nothing. It's just a vehicle to do a special favor for that special interest.
And the bill incorporates Aimee's law which the National Governors' Association and National Conference of State Legislatures both conclude ``is onerous, impractical, and unworkable.'' Chalk it up for another bill that aborts the legislative process. The Judiciary Committee has had plenty of time to make such a proposal workable for governors, but the Committee has failed again to do so.
Finally, I must note that this process is an example of how legislation should not be conducted. On almost every provision, House Democrats were given take it or leave proposals from the Republicans, and there was virtually no deliberation by the members. That's a pretty bad show.
So, I will vote yes today, but I would hope we could do a better job of protecting battered women and victims of sex trafficking in the future.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the distinguished chairman of the full Committee on the Judiciary.
(Mr. HYDE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in very strong support of this conference report. As this body is aware, it includes a number of important bipartisan pieces of legislation that together advance the cause of justice for crime victims and truly offer the prospect of improving public safety.
Among the many items of legislation that are in this conference report, the Violence Against Women Act, which is the product of so many hours of work by the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), is included; and I am very proud that it is, along with several other bills, the Rothman bill.
I rise in strong support of this conference report on H.R. 3244. As this body is aware, it includes a number of important, bi-partisan pieces of legislation that, together, advance the cause of justice for crime victims and truly offer the prospect of improving public safety.
The underlying bill, the ``Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000,'' addresses one of the enduring and pernicious forms of slavery that still blights our time. While Lincoln may have freed the slaves in America, there are those today who engage in other forms of slavery on persons of many colors. Throughout the world there are criminals who smuggle persons into this country, principally women and children, in order to force them into sexual slavery, or to work in sweatshops for years in order to pay off the exorbitant fees charged by their traffickers for their illegal entry.
This conference report will prevent and punish sex trafficking and other forms of trafficking in human beings. As such, it is another step forward in the full and complete enforcement of the anti-slavery amendments to our Constitution. Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court held that our existing anti-slavery statutes only prohibited the use of force or the abuse of the legal process to force a person into involuntary servitude. But the sad fact is that those who traffic in human beings today also use deceptive schemes and other lies, together with threats of force to family members in a home country, to coerce the victim into labor. This bill will now punish that criminal conduct. And it will fill another gap in the law by punishing, for the first time, those who traffic in human beings in order to provide the supply of labor to those who will enslave them once they arrive on our shores. The legislation will also substantially increase the penalties for the existing involuntary servitude laws already on the books.
Mr. Speaker, it is time to do all of these things to put an end to all forms of slavery that continue to exist in our country and our world.
Importantly, the conference report also includes the ``Violence Against Women Act of 2000,'' which this body passed last Tuesday by a vote of 315 to 3. The ``Violence Against Women Act of 2000,'' strengthens the ability of local communities to respond effectively to the national problem of violence against women, in all of its tragic forms, including domestic battery, stalking, rape and murder. This legislation continues and builds on our national commitment to support comprehensive, community-based efforts to keep these crime victims safe and hold offenders accountable.
The VAWA legislation reauthorizes funding for state and local law enforcement agencies as well as for education, prevention, and outreach programs. This legislation ensures that VAWA programs will continue to aid the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse cases across the country and increases victim services like domestic violence shelters for women. Additional initiatives have been authorized aimed at preventing domestic violence and sexual assault against older and disabled individuals, meeting the civil legal assistance and transitional housing needs of victims, and establishing a task force to minimize overlapping federal efforts to address domestic violence. In short, the legislation is a balanced and comprehensive effort to enhance the ability of states and localities to prevent and combat violence against women.
I again want to salute the gentlewoman from Maryland, Mrs. Morella, for her leadership on this issue and her tireless efforts to ensure that this legislation becomes law.
This conference report also includes a compromise version of the ``Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act,'' which is supported by the Administration. This legislation ensures that American victims of international terrorism will be able to receive their judgements from any blocked assets held in the United States. At the same time, the legislation provides the President waiver authority to protect national security. As a result of this legislation, the Secretary of the Treasury will finally satisfy claims brought under the Anti-terrorism Act of 1996 of victims who hold final judgements.
This bill also includes a provision known as Aimee's law, which will hold states responsible when they release a convicted felon from their prisons who then travels to another state and commits a crime. Under this provision, first introduced by the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Salmon, a state that releases a felon from its prisons who then commits a crime in another state will be required to reimburse that state for the costs it incurs in prosecuting and incarcerating that criminal. This provision has twice before passed this House, mostly recently this past July, when it passed by voice vote.
The conference report also includes the ``Secure Our Schools Act,'' which authorizes $30 million a year for the next three years for States and local governments to improve school security. Funds can be used for measures that deter crime, such as metal detectors and lighting, or other programs that offer the prospect of significantly improving public safety.
Finally, the conference report includes the ``Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act,'' aimed at cracking down on the problem of illegal intestate shipments of alcohol. It does so by permitting States Attorneys General to enter federal district court to enjoin any shipping or transporting of alcohol into their state in violation of state law. In short, this balanced provision empowers states to ensure compliance with their own laws regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol.
The text of S. 577, the ``21st Amendment Enforcement Act.'' S. 577 is the counterpart to H.R. 2031, which was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 20, 1999, and passed by the House on August 3, 1999. This legislation would grant federal court jurisdiction to actions for injunctive relief brought by state attorneys' general seeking to enforce their state liquor importation and transportation laws.
Importantly, the bill reflects the respectful comity that exists between the federal government and the states. In this bill, Congress is granting to the states the privilege of using the forum of the federal courts for limited jurisdictional purposes--so, the legislation is procedural in nature. Congress is acting under its powers to establish the lower federal courts and to define their jurisdiction. Congress is not pre-judging or endorsing the validity of the various state liquor statutes.
The sole remedy available under the bill is injunctive relief--no damages, no civil fines or criminal penalties can be imposed by the federal courts under S. 577. When the Senate Judiciary Committee considered this measure in May, it adopted a substitute offered by chairman Hatch which included a number of the due process protections which were added to the bill when it was considered in the House Judiciary Committee. So, for example, the bill requires prior notice to the adverse party or parties, applies traditional proof requirements for preliminary injunctions and requires that a hearing be held before the issuance of any preliminary or permanent injunction occurs. A State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of State law has taken place or is taking place.
Additionally, Chairman Hatch's substitute includes language in subsection 2(e), entitled ``Rules of construction,'' that states that the legislation ``shall be construed only to extend the jurisdiction of the Federal courts in connection with State law that is a valid exercise power vested in the States'' under the 21st amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, including interpretations ``in conjunction with other provisions of the Constitution.'' Federal jurisdiction is also limited to state law that is a valid exercise of state power under the first section of the Webb-Kenyon Act, as that section is interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Further, S. 577 is not to be construed as granting the states any additional power.
This rules of construction language is an implicit recognition of the Supreme Court decisions made over the last 35 years holding that the 21st Amendment cannot be read in isolation from other provisions contained in the U.S. Constitution. Hostetter v. Idlewild Bon Voyage Liquor Corporation, 377 U.S. 324 (1964) (commerce clause); Capital Cities Cable, Inc. v. Crisp, 467 U.S. 691, 712 (1984) (supremacy clause); Larkin v. Grendel's Den, Inc., 459 U.S. 116, 122 (1982) (establishment clause); Department of Revenue v. James Beam Co., 377 U.S. 341 (1964) (export-import clause); Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 209 (1976) (equal protection); Bacchus Imports, Ltd. v. Dias, 468 U.S. 263, 275 (1984) (commerce clause); 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U.S. 484, 516 (1996) (First Amendment). Again, in enacting this jurisdictional statute, Congress is not passing on the advisability or the legal validity of the various state laws regulating alcoholic beverages. Whether a particular state law on this subject is a valid exercise of state power is, and will continue to be, a matter for the courts to decide.
In my view, S. 577 takes a balanced and fair approach. The 21st Amendment Enforcement Act will assist the states in the enforcement of liquor laws that are genuinely about encouraging temperance. The courts will also continue to recognize the inherent police powers of the states to prohibit underage drinking. At the same time, this legislation preserves Congressional neutrality as to whether or not a particular state liquor law is constitutionally valid and should be enforced by the federal courts.
Opponents of this language believe that it undercuts the basis of the legislation. The legislation itself is titled as an Act, ``divesting intoxicating liquors of their interstate character in certain cases.'' Thus, it is the purpose of the Act to, under certain circumstances, ``burden'' interstate commerce. To them declare in the same Act that it does not ''impose an unconstitutional burden'' on that commerce is, according to the opponents arguments, a signal of Congressional intent to nullify the actual purpose of the Act and to invite litigation challenging all State enforcement.
Mr. Speaker, this is an important conference report, offering the prospect of real solutions to real problems. I urge its passage.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I would just like to commend the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman), all my partners on the other side. I thank all the staff tactically on my side, Mr. Yeo and Mr. Abramowitz and Alethea Gordon.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Conference Report on H.R. 3244, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, and yield myself as much time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, the conference agreement on H.R. 3244 represents landmark legislation that not only seeks to put a stop to the heinous practices of modern-day slavery, but also addresses the millions of American women who face violence in their lives each year. At so many junctures over the past months, the bill appeared headed towards the very full dustbin on the 106th Congress, but with tremendous bipartisan work both in this House and in the other body, I am happy to report that we are reporting a good bill to the House of Representatives. I want to congratulate Representative Chris Smith and his staff for their arduous work on this legislation. This is the way legislation on foreign policy should work, where members from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers working together to address in a real, concrete manner, human rights abuses that effect the United States, nations around the world, and millions of people, particularly vulnerable women and children.
The original bill was intended to stop the trafficking in persons throughout the world. The U.S. Government has reported that up to 50,000 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked into the United States alone. It is simply intolerable that as we begin the 21st century, human beings are being trafficked into modern day slavery, including thousands of women and children trafficked into the United States each year. According to human rights organizations, in a typical case, a woman is recruited with promises of a good job in another country or province, and lacking better options at home, she agrees to migrate. There are also cases in which women are lured with false marriage offers or vacation invitations, in which children are bartered by their parents for a cash advance and/or promises of future earnings, or in which victims are abducted outright. Next an agent makes arrangements for the woman's travel and job placement, obtaining the necessary travel documentation, contacting employers or job brokers, and hiring an escort to accompany the woman on her trip. Once the arrangements have been made, the woman is escorted to her destination and delivered to an employer or to another intermediary who brokers conditions of her employment. Many women learn they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do, most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment, and all find themselves in coercive and abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous.
In New York, hearing impaired men and women were recruited from Mexico and brutalized into selling trinkets on the street.
In the Carolinas, teenage girls were held in slavery and forced to work as prostitutes.
In Chicago, traffickers met Russian and Latvian women at the airport, seized their passports and return tickets, beat them and threatened to kill their families if they refused to dance nude in a nightclub.
In Florida, traffickers used alcohol and drugs to lure field workers to isolated locations and hold them under cruel conditions of debt bondage.
In New Jersey, a Bangladeshi woman was forced to work 18 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and after receiving no pay for 3 months, was forced to leave upon asking for her backpay and given only for her entire work $370, amounting to about 25 cents an hour. She was also forced to shovel snow in the sandals she arrived in, and when she got sick, they refused to take her to a doctor. They told her not to go out on her own, that the police were surely waiting to arrest her.
In California, a Thai boy who had contracted AIDS through his prostitute mother was used as a decoy to try to traffick a woman into the United States, trying to make immigration officials believe that the two adults accompanying him were his parents.
Right here in Washington, D.C., we heard cases of a woman who was paid virtually nothing and then sexually abused and refused any medical treatment.
One of the most shocking aspects of this problem is that our laws often punish the victims, not the international criminal syndicates perpetrating these abuses. We need to reverse this situation. A short time ago, no one was discussing the trafficking issue. Now, the Clinton Administration is negotiating an international protocol to end trafficking in human beings, and the Congress is doing its part by passing comprehensive legislation.
A broad coalition from across the political and ideological spectrum helped move this issue to the top of the national agenda. They were determined to have the United States serve as an example for the rest of the world in stopping trafficking everywhere. By our action, we can encourage other countries to do more, and several countries have already indicated that they are looking at U.S. legislation as a model for their own response.
The legislation reported out of the conference in some ways combines many of the best features of the bills passed by the House and the other chamber, where the effort was led by Senators Brownback and Wellstone. It provides for prevention of trafficking here and abroad, protection of victims in the United States by providing a new visa category for them, among other things, and punishes traffickers by creating new crimes of forced labor, and labor and sex trafficking.
The bill also includes additional legislation that the conferees felt must be moved quickly. In particular, the legislation now includes the Violence Against Women Act of 2000. The original Violence Against Women Act expired last Thursday, leaving millions of American women without protection from the violence that they suffer in their lives. This Act reauthorizes through Fiscal Year 2005 the key programs included in the original Violence Against Women Act, such as the STOP, Pro-Arrest, Rural Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement, and campus grants; battered women's shelters; the National Domestic Violence Hotline; rape prevention and education grant programs; and three victims of child abuse programs, including the court-appointed special advocate program (CASA). It also makes some improvements responding to the experience with the original act, including authorizing grants for legal assistance for victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault and strengthening and refining the protections for battered immigrant women, including a new visa for battered immigrant women. It is fitting that this bill address the severe problems of both trafficking and of violence against women in the United States.
The bill also includes terrorism assistance provisions for using frozen foreign government assets to pay for U.S. victims of terrorism who have judgments against such governments and other assistance for victims of terrorism. This provision addresses the need for compensation for victims of terrorism such as the family of Alissa Flatow, who was killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, the victims of the Cuban shootdown of the plane of the ``Brothers of the Rescue'' humanitarian organization, Terry Anderson, Joseph Ciccipio and other victims.
Finally, and in my view regrettably, the bill contains a number of extraneous provisions that are somewhat controversial, including a provision dealing with the sale of alcohol through the internet and across state lines. However, these provisions needed to be included for the bill to be reported out of the Conference.
I want to thank the staff of several committees and Members who worked endlessly on this legislation: my counsel, David Abramowitz, Peter Yeo, and Alethea Gordon from my staff; Joseph Rees, Scott Deutchman, Iden Martyn, Glenn Schmitt and Lora Ries, of the House, and Charlotte Oldhan-Moore, Jill Hickson, Karen Knutsen, Sharon Payt, Brian McKeon, and Mark Lagon of the Senate.
Overall, I do believe this bill addresses important and real needs of women and children here and abroad. I urge the Committee to provide this bill with the normal rule relating to conference reports, waiving points of order against it.
I urge my colleagues to support the conference report on H.R. 4344, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman) be permitted to control the balance of my time.
Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Connecticut?
There was no objection.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee).
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
An estimated 1 million to 2 million people are trafficked every year worldwide; 50,000 to the United States. Trafficking is the third largest source of profits for organized crime behind only drugs and guns, generating billions of dollars annually.
This bill contains provisions to strengthen current law to prevent unlawful buying and selling of persons, human beings.
This measure also includes the Violence Against Women Act which has provided and will now continue to provide battered women and their children a safe haven and much-needed support for their physical and their emotional well-being.
Women and children are depending on passage of this important provision within this bill to help stop violent crimes that are too often committed against them. H.R. 3244 addresses the devastating problems of international sex trafficking, sexual predators, violence against women and much more. Violence and abuse against women and children will not be tolerated. I urge passage of this very important bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella).
Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the inclusion of the Violence Against Women Act in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for supporting this effort to do so.
I remember a Latin phrase meaning after the struggle comes the reward. This has been quite a struggle. This is the reward for the American people.
These two bills form a natural alliance by protecting women around the globe from being abused, raped, bought, sold or forced against their will. We can all celebrate the message being sent to women everywhere when we pass this legislation that women's minds and bodies are their own. By passing this conference report, we empower millions of women around the world to escape from pain and fear.
This version of the Violence Against Women Act combines the strongest programs of both the House and Senate bills. We will never have a bill that meets every need of every victim and child, but this bill is the strongest commitment that Congress has ever made to fighting domestic violence and sexual assault.
I am proud of the bill. I am proud of the dozens of Members and staff who worked tirelessly to maintain the programs and the funding to meet the horrifying need of millions of victims to be safe from both immediate and long-term danger.
In this bill we finally recognize the highest risk group for intimate partner violence, ages 16 to 24 years old. The House Committee on the Judiciary worked with me to include victims of dating violence in three desperately needed categories: Services and Training for Officers and Prosecutors, or STOP grants; grants to encourage arrest policies; and rural State grants.
With the inclusion of dating violence in the Violence Against Women Act, I hope we can begin to recognize that young women are falling prey to violent relationships in their earliest dating experiences. If we can send them the message that anger and violence is not a sign of love, we may prevent thousands of future battered women and children from living in fear.
By passing this bill, we reauthorize the existing Violence Against Women Act programs for another 5 years. When it was originally passed in 1994, and some of us remember it because we were very much involved with it, Congress authorized $1.5 billion. Today, we have more than double the available grants to States. We have the STOP grants, we have grants to reduce violent crimes against women on campus, we have grants essential to protecting victims, the shelters for battered women and children, the National Domestic Violence Hot Line, which as we know receives 13,000 calls per month, in fact more than that, and a number of other provisions. We have increased grants being made available for rape prevention and education programs, which will continue to empower women with ways to protect themselves from sexual assault.
I just want this body to know that they can be very proud of passing this conference report. It will make a difference. It does not settle everything but it will make a big difference.
I also want to commend the staff people, the Committee on the Judiciary, with the chairman, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde); the other Members, the ranking member; and all the other Members who have worked very hard on it. I want to thank our staffs, especially my staff, Kate Dickens who worked indefatigably on this.
And, lastly, Mr. Speaker, I will be submitting for the Record the names of the many organizations and personages who worked so hard and who deserve the credit for this bill. The credit and the beneficiaries will be the American people. Judiciary Committee staff, Carl Thorsen and Dan Bryant for their long hours and dedication to understanding the issue, also Cori Flam for her commitment to helping victims. To leadership of their support and especially Paul McNulty for his mediation skills.
Juley Fulcher, Public Policy Director and the staff of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also Robin Runge and good luck to Marlo Cohen, who is thrilled somewhere in a law library.
Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and the staff of the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
Lynn Rosenthal, Executive Director and the staff of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Leslye Orloff, Director, Immigrant Women's Program, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Pat Reuss, Vice-President of Government Relations and Jackie Payne at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Diane Moyer, Director of Public Policy and the staff at Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
Debbie Andrews, Executive Director and staff of RAINN.
Jody Rabhan, Associate Director and the staff at the National Council of Jewish Women.
The National Organization of Women.
National Task Force to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and to the thousands of advocates, health care professionals, law enforcement and judicial personnel, prosecutors for caring so much about individuals in need.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
(Ms. PELOSI asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Sex Trafficking Victims Protection Act, H.R. 3244. These provisions are vital to ensure women can exercise their rights and to protect women from violence, abuse, sexual assault, and sexual predators. Women should feel safe in their homes, safe walking in the street, and safe at night. The reauthorization of VAWA brings us closer to these goals and will improve the health and quality of life of hundreds of thousands of women and children and families. The underlying bill will reduce illegal and inhumane trafficking in women and children around the world and serve to protect and uphold their human rights.
While I applaud the progress we have made, I am disappointed that the Congressional leadership did not bring these related, but separate provisions, up independently and I am concerned that leadership took so long to debate, vote, and approve these important protections. VAWA was introduced at the beginning of this Congress--more than 18 months ago. This reauthorizing bill should not have been delayed this late and VAWA's authorization should not have expired. In the future, I hope other issues of significance of women are treated in a more timely and measured manner.
This bill reauthorizes the programs under the original Violence Against Women Act continuing provisions to fund battered women's shelters, rape crisis centers and a hotline for domestic violence. It builds on that bill and strengthens law enforcement to reduce violence; education and training to combat violence; and services to the victims of violence. It also helps limit the traumatic effects violence has on children who too frequently suffer as silent victims.
We must work to support America's young women, our future leaders, and this bill reaches out to them through efforts to prevent campus sex crimes and efforts to prevent teen suicide. In light of the recent attention to many immigration issues, I am pleased this bill addresses the needs of battered immigrant women and takes protective steps to address their plight.
The Sex Trafficking Victims Protection Act will help end trafficking--a terrible modern version of slavery--that rapes, starves, physically brutalizes its victims, ultimately victimizing all women. Since many victims residing in the U.S. lack U.S. citizenship or appropriate documentation, existing U.S. laws are inadequate to protect these victims. This bill seeks to end trafficking and ensure traffickers are held accountable for their crimes.
I urge my colleagues to vote yes on this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 45 seconds to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), as I will the other seven Members that are waiting to come up under Judiciary time.
(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Let me pay tribute to a lady who will benefit from this legislation, Calla, a Guatemalan woman who lived with her fiance, a legal permanent resident, for 5 years; and when she asked about getting married so she could apply for her own legal residency, he beats her and accuses her of only wanting to be with him so she can get her immigration status recognized.
This bill is long overdue. The battered immigrant women provisions are necessary. Though I would have wanted to see access to food stamps, access to housing, access to other benefits, we must move this bill forward, and we must move the programs that provide sexual assault prevention programs and education and training of judges. That is a key element for providing relief to those abused individuals.
I would like to thank the Committee on International Relations for protecting the victims of terrorism and those subjected to slavery. This is a good conference report and I ask for my colleagues to vote for it.
Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to thank the leaders like Congressman John Conyers who has been a leader on VAWA issues for years, Congressman Sam Gejdenson, the Ranking Member of the International Relations Committee for his leadership in being instrumental in reaching a compromise on this bill, Congressman Tom Lantos, who is a champion on Human Rights around the globe, and his true counterpart on the other side, Congressman Chris Smith, who also has been a champion of Human Rights, and Congressman Lamar Smith the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, who I have been able to work very well with throughout the 106th Congress.
I come to the floor today in my capacity as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. Inside this report is the agreement authorizing VAWA, and some very important provisions that deal with Battered Immigrant Women. I joined with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congresswoman Connie Morella to sponsor H.R. 3083, The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 1999, would provide much needed access to battered immigrant victims of domestic violence. Fortunately, many of the provisions of this bill were included in this conference report.
The 1994 VAWA requires the victim to be married to a citizen or permanent resident and prove battery or extreme cruelty by the abuser. There is a provision in this report that eliminates the requirement that an immigrant victim has to prove extreme hardship. The spirit and intent of the 1994 law was to allow immigrants to safely escape the violence and bring their abusers to justice, now this can be done with the adoption of this report.
This Conference Report has language that would provide VAWA relief to abused children who subsequently turn 21 as long as they can demonstrate that one or more incidents of battery or extreme cruelty occurred before they turned 21.
This conference report gives battered immigrants living abroad new access to VAWA immigration relief. Abused children of spouses married to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and U.S. government employees living abroad are trapped overseas unable to escape and seek assistance. Filing a family-based visa petition at an American consulate is permissible, while filing VAWA self-petitions are not. This Conference Report makes it possible for battered immigrant women to file their own petitions. This is a major change.
This Conference Report now allows battered immigrants to file VAWA self-petitions if it is filed within two years of divorce. Divorced battered immigrants do not have access to VAWA immigrant relief. There are many ``savvy'' abusers who know that if they divorce their abused spouse they will cut off their victim's access to VAWA relief. Provisions in this report change that.
I am very disappointed that some missing provisions that were in the House bill, H.R. 3083 are not in the Conference Report. They are provisions that: exempted fiances from conditional residency requirements, a provision that extended VAWA to sons and daughters of legal permanent residents who are 21 and would allow them to include children in the self-petition; a provision that would have given battered immigrants the option of having children follow to join them rather than placing them in deportation proceedings; and deeply regret that there are no provisions in the report that provide access to food stamps to battered aliens; and access to housing, and access to benefits that would enable the alien to avoid battery or extreme cruelty in the future.
We need this language because far too often, the pleas for help by these immigrant victims are not heard because of language or cultural barriers. Moreover, many victims remain silent because the threat of deportation looms over them and their children. As a result, immigrant women are caught in an intersection of immigration, family, and welfare laws that do not reflect their needs and life experiences, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation with few options for redress. There are real human illustrations as to why we need this bill.
Carla, a Guatemalan woman, has lived with her boyfriend, a legal permanent resident for five years. When she asks him about getting married so she can apply for her own legal residency, he beats her and accuses her of only wanting to be with him so she can get her immigration status recognized.
Such compelling real-life stories illustrate the unique array of legal, economic, and social problems battered immigrant women face today. Most importantly, when these women are facing desperate times and struggles, they have children who are directly impacted. Often times when the mothers are in shelters or deported, the children become the custody of local child welfare agencies.
A battered woman, who is not a legal resident, or whose immigration status depends completely on her partner, is often isolated by unique cultural dynamics which may prevent her from leaving her husband or seeking assistance from the American legal system. With the adoption of this report, a woman in this position is now provided relief. The language in this report will improve the lives of battered immigrants and send them on a path to rebuilding their lives and the lives of their children. I urge the adoption of this report.
While the sweeping provisions of Battered Immigrant Women are included in this report, there is also the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for five years. The money for these programs will combat violence against women, including battered women's shelters and services, sexual assault prevention programs and education and training judges. While I favored the Conyers version in committee, it does seem that compromise was reached to include some much needed provisions from his bill.
The Conference Agreement also includes provisions to allow victims of terrorism or their families in the United States to recover judgments against countries listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. Under the agreement, the president would have the authority to differentiate, on an asset-by asset basis, the premises of foreign diplomatic missions, but not commercial property or rental proceeds from diplomatic property eligible to be protected. This is a reasonable compromise because I remember that the Administration had some concerns and they have been taken care of.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Roukema).
(Mrs. ROUKEMA asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this conference report, and I especially want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) and the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella) for their valiant leadership. This is long overdue, and all the battered women and children in this world need this.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Smith, for his leadership in bringing these various important items to the floor. I strongly support the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, Aimee's Law and 21st Century Amendment Enforcement Act. These provisions are extremely important to women and children in our nation and in the international community.
What I would particularly like to focus my time on today is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. I commend Mrs. Morella for her diligent leadership to ensure that this important legislation is reauthorized before the end of the session.
H.R. 1248 authorizes $3 billion dollars over the next four years to fund various programs that support state and local efforts to shelter battered women, train local police and court officials how to handle domestic abuse cases, and provide a hotline and counseling services to battered women.
In my district, the fifth district of New Jersey, there are numerous state and local efforts to address the problem of domestic violence. I want to tell you about four of these programs today. In Hackensack, New Jersey, we have the ``Shelter our Sisters'' domestic abuse program. This program provides shelter and clothing for battered women of Bergen County and their children. In Passaic County, we have the ``Strengthen our Sisters'' program which is located in Wanaque, NJ. I visited this shelter last spring. Not only do they provide shelter and clothing. As part of the services provided, the program includes a beauty parlor that is run by battered women from the shelter. This provides the ability for the women to have their hair and nails done before looking for a job. In Sussex County, Domestic Abuse Services, Inc. (DASI) is an organization that has been active for over 16 years. DASI offers a variety of services, including individual and group counseling, a 24-hour hotline, an emergency shelter, a food pantry, a sexual trauma resource center, and community education about domestic violence. And to summarize, I want to identify Ginny's House in Sussex County, which has the heart and soul of angel's helping the little children of our county with physical and emotional support.
These are just a few examples of the innovative things people in my district have done to help women who are the victims of domestic abuse. I commend these programs for their work assisting women get ``back on their feet'' after being the unfortunate victims of abuse.
Violence against women continues to be a disturbing reality in America. Every day, four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence, and studies indicate that nearly two to four million women are battered each year. In addition, more than 132,000 women are raped yearly.
Six years ago, the Violence Against Women Act became law as part of the historic 1994 Crime Bill. VAWA reflected a comprehensive understanding of the broad range of strategies needed to change this nation's response to violence against women.
Its passage was a watershed event in the continuing struggle to end this type of unnecessary violence. Since the law was passed in 1994, the Justice Department estimates that violence against women has decreased by 21 percent.
The bottom line is: as this decrease indicates this comprehensive approach to combating domestic violence works. But our work is not done until violence against women in our nation is completely eliminated.
I know that all of us in Congress are deeply concerned about these violent crimes that are perpetrated against women. It is a serious national problem whether it takes the form of domestic battery, rape and murder, or stalking. I believe our ability to respond effectively to such violent crimes is an indicator of our commitment to securing safe neighborhoods and safe communities. I urge my colleagues to vote in support of this important legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Scarborough).
(Mr. SCARBOROUGH asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for yielding me this time; and I also thank the chairman, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), for his important work on this bill and including the language from my bill, H.R. 2031, the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act. I would also like to thank the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) for cosponsoring this important bill.
It is important because it stops illegal bootlegging on the Internet and the illegal sale of alcohol. This legislation ensures that States have the resources they need to enforce their alcohol control laws from out-of-State bootleggers and illegal shippers of alcohol.
It is important to remember that there are no new substantive laws. This only allows State attorneys general the ability to seek injunctive relief in Federal Court to enforce State laws relating to direct shipment of intoxicating liquor. It does not apply to anybody unless they are breaking the law.
It is a comprehensive solution that is carefully crafted to give States access to Federal courts to enforce their laws without infringing on the use of cutting edge marketing techniques if the deliveries and the sales they generate are made illegally.
This bill is not about the Internet per se. It creates no Internet commerce policy nor does it change the States or the Federal Government's alcohol policy. If people are playing by the rules, it does not apply to them. No new laws, if people play by the rules. But if they break the rules, if they sell to children over the Internet or engage in illegal bootlegging, that can be and will be stopped now by State attorneys general thanks to the 21st Amendment Enforcement Act.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cardin).
(Mr. CARDIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, I am particularly pleased we were able to work out an agreement allowing victims of trafficking access to certain basic assistance programs, such as Medicaid, TANF, and food stamps. I am also pleased that, in addition to the trafficking bill, we were able to include the Violence Against Women Act. It is very important legislation, and I am pleased we were able to incorporate it in the conference report before us.
I must point out, though, that I am disappointed we were able to include the Child Support Distribution Act that passed overwhelmingly by this body and is now laboring in the other body. The gentlewoman from Connecticut (Mrs. Johnson) and I had urged the conference to include that particular legislation. We were unable to convince our friends in the other body, but I would hope that before we adjourn sine die that we will be able to pass that important legislation that would send over a billion dollars of increased child support to our Nation's poorest children and families.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts), who has been working very, very hard on the trafficking issue, particularly as a member of the Helsinki Commission.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a bill that my good friend, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), has worked tirelessly on.
As Americans, we have always worked for justice and freedom in our borders and worldwide, and that is what this bill is all about; justice through criminal penalties and victim restitution for those who would traffic women and children, and freedom for the victims as the United States takes the lead in fighting to end this criminal business around the world.
I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Laura Lederer, Director of the Protection Project at Johns Hopkins University. Her work has been vital to those working for the victims of sexual trafficking. I hope she is able to continue her study. Let me just read her quote. ``Sexual trafficking is a huge problem that urgently needs to be addressed. To conceptualize how immense the problem is, imagine a city the size of Minneapolis or St. Louis, made up entirely of women and children. Imagine that those women and children are kidnapped, raped, and forced into prostitution. Imagine it happening every year. Then stop imagining, because it is happening now and in those numbers.''
That is why we are voting on the bill today, and I urge my colleagues to vote for it.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 45 seconds to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey).
(Mrs. LOWEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, last March I was honored to be in Southeast Asia. We heard the terrifying stories of trafficking victims and spoke with dedicated individuals who have devoted their lives to helping those women. Today, we have the opportunity to assure these women and children that they are not alone; that the international community recognizes their struggle and is committed to putting an end to this barbaric practice.
This legislation devotes critical funds to helping foreign governments fight trafficking and assist their victims, and pledges the full force of U.S. law to stopping this practice here at home. This is an important step, and I support it wholeheartedly.
I am especially delighted that this conference report contains the reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. For those of us who have been fighting for VAWA, today is a cause for celebration.
But more importantly, this bill represents a major victory for the millions of American women who cannot advocate for themselves, women who suffer abuse in silence and in shame, women whose lives and liberty are jeopardized due to gender-based violence.
It used to be that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault were ostracized by their communities, ignored by law enforcement, and even shunned by their own families. But VAWA has played a major role in changing that. It significantly bolstered criminal penalties for sex offenses, stalking, and domestic violence. And in just six years, VAWA has provided over $1.6 billion to support prosecutors, law enforcement, courts, shelters, support services, and prevention programs to combat violence against women.
But we have so much work left to do. Experts estimate that 1.5 million women are victims of gender-based violence every year. An estimated one in three adult women experiences at least one physical assault by an intimate partner during her lifetime. And women throughout America will continue to suffer because they lack access to legal representation in obtaining orders of protection, filing divorce or custody cases, and disputing discrimination in the workplace.
I'm so proud that we are at long last sending the Violence Against Women Act to the President. I'm also delighted that legislation I authored to expand victims' access to legal services has been included in this bill. Increasing funding for legal services to $40 million annually, improving the training of attorneys, and requiring cooperation between legal service providers and victims' organizations will all help empower thousands of women to break the cycle of abuse.
Every woman--whether in our country or abroad--deserves to feel and be safe in her home, her workplace, and in her community. For our nation's women and women around the world, I urge my colleagues to pass this critical bill.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Payne).
(Mr. PAYNE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3244, a bill on sex trafficking on the floor at this time.
My colleague, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), has held several hearings in the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, and I commend him for that and also the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) for his interest.
This act will work to combat trafficking in persons, especially into the sex trade, slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States and in other countries; it also enacts tough criminal laws against buying, selling, either by force, fraud or coercion, or where the victim is a minor. It authorizes the rehabilitation and shelter programs; it authorizes law enforcement assistance to help foreign governments fight trafficking; and encourages the Secretary of State to produce an annual list of foreign countries who do not meet minimum international standards to eliminate trafficking.
This has grown tremendously. Some report it at least $7 billion per year, second only to drug and international arms trade. The victims are young people who have no hope.
Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of H.R. 3244.
Mr. Speaker, how much time remains on both sides?
The gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) has 5\1/2\ minutes remaining, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) has 4 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman) has 4\1/2\ minutes remaining.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Salmon), the author of Aimee's Law.
Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would like to clarify my response to the colloquy I engaged in with the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers). The version of Aimee's Law contained in H.R. 3244 would apply only to individuals convicted of murders, rape, or child molestation for a second time after the law takes effect on January 1st, 2002. I hope that clears up any misunderstanding that I might have had or given.
I would also like to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for his graciousness in including this legislation, which will make a real difference in people's lives. Because, Mr. Speaker, 14,000 rapes, murders, and molestations occur every year, and they are 100 percent preventable. Because if these monsters were not let out of prison, or if after let out of prison they had an adequate program for tracking these people through their parole program to make sure that the violence is not recommitted, lives would be spared, children's innocence would be preserved, and women's lives would not be ruined.
This will make a difference. It will make a difference.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 45 seconds to the gentlewoman from Ohio (Mrs. Jones). (Mrs. JONES of Ohio asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, since I have 45 seconds, I am going to forego all the preliminaries and only stand to say, as a former prosecutor engaged in the prosecution of domestic violence cases, the Violence Against Women Act provided us the opportunity to come together and put together a program and protocol in our community to deal with violence against women.
I am very proud to stand in support of this legislation as it extends itself to deal with women who are in this country and the victim of violence.
I will again say that I hate the administrative nightmares that are aided by the Aimee's law, but it is very important that we make sure that we provide prosecutors, State court judges, police officers, and Violence Against Women workers with the money they need to do the job out on the streets.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of the time.
(Mr. ROTHMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), for all his fine work in introducing this very important legislation.
Mr. Speaker, my message is very simple. Congress must give local school boards the resources they need to keep guns out of their classrooms.
Mr. Speaker, do my colleagues remember the time when guns were routinely involved in the airline hijackings? What happened? Airlines installed metal detectors. That was 30 years ago.
Here in the Capitol, after several tragic incidents involving guns, the Capitol Police installed metal detectors here.
Today, when we have elementary schoolchildren bringing guns into their schools, and this phenomenon has occurred across the country, it is now long beyond time to give local school boards the help they need to keep guns out of their schools.
Therefore, we must pass the Secure Our Schools Act, a bill which I introduced along with the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Roemer) and others, which is part of this conference report.
Under this bill, Federal matching grants would be provided to any school that requests help to pay for metal detectors, security cameras, or other security devices, or to train school officials in security matters, or to work with local law enforcement officials.
I am very pleased that this bill, with bipartisan support, overwhelmingly passed the House Committee on the Judiciary.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our distinguished ranking member, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), for all his assistance and to thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman Hyde), without whom this bill would not be on the floor today.
In particular, I would like to mention and thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) for his invaluable work in reaching across the aisle to assure bipartisan support so that America's children are protected from guns entering their classrooms.
Some young constituents of mine, middle school students from Saddle Brook, New Jersey, said it best when they wrote to me and said, ``School is supposed to be a place where we feel safe.''
Let us give them and their local school boards the resources to keep guns out of their schools.
I urge my colleagues to vote for this conference report.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 45 seconds to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney) and thank her for the excellent work that she has done on this bill.
(Mrs. MALONEY of New York asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his leadership and for yielding me the time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the International Sexual Trafficking Bill. Both of these important bills were top priorities of the bipartisan Women's Caucus. I regret that it was packaged with several other unrelated, nongermane bills.
The International Sexual Trafficking Bill is important because not only does it take steps to eliminate the sex trafficking industry by punishing the predators that exploit women around the world, but it also takes steps to protect the victims of sex trafficking.
The bill sets forth the minimum international standards for the elimination of sex trafficking. It establishes criminal and civil penalties. And it does many other things.
I appreciate all of my colleagues' work on this important bill for women.
And by establishing criminal and civil penalties for traffickers this bill punishes traffickers for profiting from the victimization of women.
In addition, it authorizes assistance, through non-governmental organizations to the native countries of sex trafficked victims to help the victims and to take steps to stop the industry.
The United States is not immune to the problems of trafficking. It is estimated that as many as 50,000 women, children, and men are trafficked into the U.S. each year. This bill would assist those victims by authorizing a new visa for trafficking victims to provide protection to the women and children that are brought into the United States and forced into prostitution.
Of course there is more that needs to be done to stop the many human rights abuses inflicted on women around the world.
Attacking the sex trafficking industry is an important step in the continued fight for women's rights and freedom around the world.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Millender-McDonald).
(Ms. MILLENDER-McDONALD asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the conference report.
Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of this Conference Agreement on H.R. 3244 and the joint efforts of the House, Senate, and Administration to assert our global leadership in halting trafficking and gender-specific violence against all persons, particularly women and girls around the world. Practices of abduction, coercion, violence and exploitation are without a doubt the most reprehensible phenomena sweeping the globe today.
We know that between 1-2 million women and children are trafficked annually around the world. Approximately 50,000--100,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year primarily from Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Union. Think about this for a moment. In our country, where we have fought to secure women rights for nearly a century, we too are plagued by these terrible practices. Women and girls suffer extreme physical and mental abuse including rape, torture, starvation, imprisonment and sometimes death. Women and children trafficked in the sex industry are exposed to deadly disease including HIV and AIDS.
While many of us are prospering in the global economy, still others are exploited by traffickers seeking to capitalize on foreign labor markets, the disintegrating social networks, and lower status of women. Victims are lured into trafficking networks through false promises of jobs, good working conditions, high pay and foreign adventure. Yet, slave-like conditions in jobs as domestic workers, factory workers, sex workers, nannies, waitresses, and service workers mire trafficked women and children at the bottom, lock them into the most insecure occupations, and leave victims open to ongoing exploitation and isolation.
Trafficking is a grave human rights, economic, migration, and transnational crimes issue. In 1998, President Clinton established the anti-trafficking strategy of prevention, protection for victims, and prosecution and enforcement against traffickers. The President also charged the Interagency Council on Women with coordinating the U.S. trafficking in women and children policy.
Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3244 will permit the U.S. government to extend our efforts to combat trafficking in women and children and ensure a just and effective punishment of traffickers and protect their victims. This bill directs the Secretary of State to include comprehensive information on trafficking in our Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The bill also establishes the ``Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking'' which I applaud. I believe the high level appointments to this Task Force, including the Secretary of State, Director of USAID, and Attorney General speak to the seriousness to which our country takes this issue. H.R. 3244 will help create economic alternatives to deter women from traffickers by providing them clear choices to improve their economic conditions. H.R. 3244 engages the U.S. government with foreign countries to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and establishes a policy not to provide nonhumanitarian foreign assistance to countries which do not meet these minimum standards. And, this bill targets individuals who are known to traffic in persons. The Secretary of State is instructed to establish a list of such persons to identify and sanction such persons who are significant traffickers in persons. The Attorney General is empowered to strengthen the prosecution and punishment of traffickers.
And, finally, this bill puts our money where our hearts and commitments are to end this horrible practice by authorizing $15 million over two years to Health and Human Services, $15 million over two years to the Secretary of state; $15 million over two years to the Attorney General and $15 million each for victims' assistance and foreign countries to meet minimum standards and finally, $15 million over two years to the Secretary of Labor to assist victims in the United States.
I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on the H.R. 3244 Conference Report.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays).
(Mr. SHAYS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the conference report.
The conference report includes H.R. 1248, which reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for an additional five years.
As a cosponsor of H.R. 1248, I commend my colleagues Mr. Hyde, Mrs. Morella, Mr. Conyers and Mr. McCollum for their tireless efforts to bring this vital piece of legislation to the floor.
The scourge of domestic violence must be ended. Perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes must be punished, and victims must have support services available to help them transition to a normal life.
VAWA is a piece of legislation this body can be proud of. This law has substantially reduced the levels of violence committed against women and children by their spouses and partners.
Since it was signed into law in 1994, VAWA has strengthened criminal laws and provided funding to enhance their enforcement. It has also provided a foundation for a successful long term criminal justice effort to end violence against women.
By encouraging collaboration among police, prosecutors and victim service providers, VAWA is building a comprehensive community response to violence against women across the country.
VAWA grants have made a difference in the lives of women and their families. Authorization for this critical set of programs expires in four days. It would simply be irresponsible of this body to fail to reauthorize the legislation before adjourning.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act by voting for H.R. 3244.
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. SMITH of New Jersey asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that H.R. 3244, the Smith-Gejdenson-Brownback-Wellstone Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, is now poised to be passed and, hopefully, will be passed by the Senate and sent to the President for signature.
Interestingly and importantly, it has been endorsed by people like Chuck Colson and Gloria Steinem, by the Family Research Council and Equality Now, by the Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism, as well as the National Association of Evangelicals.
In crafting this legislation, we also had the very able assistance of impartial experts, such as Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission, which goes out and rescues trafficked women and children one by one, and Dr. Laura Lederer of the Protection Project, whose painstaking research has been indispensable to ensuring that we have the facts about this worldwide criminal enterprise and its victims.
I also especially want to thank my Staff Director and Chief Counsel Grover Joseph Rees, who has been indefatigable in his expertise on a myriad of these issues. As former general counsel of the INS, he has been indispensable in writing and crafting this legislation.
I also want to thank David Abramowitz with the Democratic staff, who has also done yeoman's work. This is truly bipartisan legislation. I also want to express my gratitude to Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute who has supported this effort from day one.
H.R. 3244 has attracted such broad support not only because it is pro-woman, pro-child, pro-human rights, pro-family values, and anti-crime, but also because it addresses a problem that cries out for a solution. Division A of this conference report, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, focuses on the most severe forms of trafficking in human beings: on the buying and selling of children into the international sex industry, on sex trafficking of women and children alike by force, fraud, or coercion, and on trafficking into slavery and involuntary servitude.
Each year as many as two million innocent victims--of whom the overwhelming majority are women and children--are brought by force and/or fraud into the international commercial sex industry. Efforts by the United States government, international organizations, and others to stop this brutal practice have thus far proved unsuccessful.
Part of the problem is that current laws and law enforcement strategies--in the United States as in other nations--often punish victims more severely than they punish the perpetrators. When a sex-for-hire establishment is raided, the women (and sometimes children) in the brothel are typically deported if they are not citizens of the country in which the establishment is located--without reference to whether their participation was voluntary or involuntary, and without reference to whether they will face retribution or other serious harm upon return. This not only inflicts further cruelty on the victims, it also leaves nobody to testify against the real criminals, and frightens other victims from coming forward.
This legislation seeks the elimination of slavery, and particularly sex slavery, by a comprehensive, balanced approach of prevention, prosecution and enforcement, and victim protection. The central principle behind the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is that criminals who knowingly operate enterprises that profit from sex acts involving persons who have been brought across international boundaries for such purposes by force or fraud, or who force human beings into slavery, should receive punishment commensurate with the penalties for kidnapping and forcible rape. This would be not only a just punishment, but also a powerful deterrent.
And the logical corollary of this principle is that we need to treat victims of these terrible crimes as victims, who desperately need our help and protection. The bill implements these principles by toughening up enforcement and by providing protection and assistance for victims.
Mr. Speaker, I am also very proud that Division B is the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, of which I was also a co-sponsor along with Henry Hyde, Bill McCollum, Connie Morella and other colleagues from both parties. This Act includes provisions to reauthorize federal programs that combat violence against women, to strengthen law enforcement to reduce violence against women, to strengthen services to victims of violence, to limit the effects of violence on children, to strengthen education and training to combat violence against women, to enact new procedures for the protection of battered immigrant women, and to extend the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot wait one more day to begin saving the millions of women and children who are forced every day to submit to the most atrocious offenses against their persons and against their dignity as human beings. I urge unanimous support for the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to enter into the record my understanding of the Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act as reflected in the Conference Report concerning Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (H.R. 3244).
Representative Chris Smith's H.R. 3244 has been in Conference for the past several weeks. That Conference concluded with a report that allows the Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act (S. 577--Hatch) to be added to the legislation. I have a strong objection to the addition of this legislation, as it is not germane to the underlying, House-passed bill. However, as I support my esteemed colleague's efforts, I will vote to pass the Conference report.
As a proud vintner, I object to the association of my industry with violence against women, sex trafficking and slavery, and believe that S. 577 should not be included for that reason. In addition to my objection, The National Association of State Legislatures took action opposing S. 577 on a 41-7 vote. Mothers Against Drunk Driving does not support Congress' involvement in an internal industry issue under the guise of juvenile access to alcohol.
The proponents of S. 577 argue that the legislation is needed in order to avoid distribution of alcoholic beverages to minors. If that is indeed their position, the Conference Report should include language that limits the provisions of S. 577 to enforcement in cases involving minors. It does not; therefore, I believe that the intention of the proponents of S. 577 is in fact broader than the rhetoric would indicate.
Previous versions of the Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act contained provisions that would have allowed states to unfairly discriminate against out-of-state sellers for the purposes of economic protectionism. Such protectionism would clearly be a violation of the Commerce clause of the Constitution; thus, the current version of this legislation does not allow for such protectionist acts.
The Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act is simply a jurisdictional statute with very narrow and specific purposes. The bill is not intended to allow the enforcement of invalid or unconstitutional state liquor laws in the federal courts, and is certainly not intended to allow states to unfairly discriminate against out of state sellers. The legislation does provide the federal courts jurisdiction to injunctive relief actions brought by state attorneys general seeking to enforce state laws dealing with the importation or transportation of alcoholic beverages. We are not today saying that those state laws are valid, reasonable or in any manner given import outside of the jurisdiction of the state.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that the Conference has reported a bill that confuses, rather than enlightens, the debate within the alcohol beverage industry regarding the best mechanism for consumers to obtain the products they wish to purchase in a free society. As a stand-alone bill, I have worked to make sure that this confusion was not adopted in law. However, the procedural actions that resulted in this bill being included in the Sex Trafficking conference report make such efforts futile, and as I indicated, I will vote to support the report.
Mr. Speaker, I support this conference report, which combines a number of law-enforcement measures, including two very important measures to protect women around the world and here in the United States.
Worldwide, the conference report takes important steps to make the United States a full partner in the international effort to curb exploitation of women who are the victims of the international sex trade. This is very important because recent favorable international developments--including the breakup of the Soviet Union and greater freedom of travel--have also had the effect of making it easier for this exploitation to occur.
Here at home, the conference report also authorizes the important programs of the Violence Against Women Act, or ``VAWA.'' That is also something I strongly support.
VAWA is very important for Colorado. Through last year, our state received almost $15 million in VAWA grants. That money has helped assist victims of domestic violence, but it has also done much more.
In fact, according to a letter from our Attorney General, Ken Salazar, and his colleagues from other states, VAWA ``has enabled us to maximize the effectiveness of our state programs that have made a critical difference in the lives of women and children endangered by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.''
VAWA is also important for our country. It has made a difference in the lives of millions of women by aiding in the prosecution of cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, by increasing services for victims and resources for law enforcement personnel, and by establishing a National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Partly as a result, crimes against women have decreased by 27 percent since VAWA's enactment.
But more remains to be done. More women are injured by domestic violence each year than by automobile accidents and cancer combined. More than one-third of all women using emergency rooms are victims of domestic violence. In 1997 more than 250,000 women and children sought refuge from domestic violence in women's shelters. More than 300,000 sexual assaults were perpetrated against women in 1998 alone. And every year more than one million women are targeted by stalkers.
Because I strongly support renewing and strengthening this vital measure, I joined in cosponsoring H.R. 1248, the bipartisan VAWA reauthorization bill that was also supported by the Administration. The House passed that bill last month, and by passing this conference report we will take the next step toward its enactment.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 3244, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act Conference Report. This life saving legislation for women and girls in the United States is a strong, positive example to all nations around the world that violence against women and girls is intolerable and must end.
The Violence Against Women Act, first establish in 1994, has been successful, and its renewal is essential. The National Organization for Women reports that every day four women in this country die as a result of domestic violence, and that between two to four million women of all races and socioeconomic classes are battered annually in America. The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, which is included in this bill, commits over three billion dollars for the next five years to assist victims of domestic violence, and seek an end to such behavior in our society.
The plight of battered women is a sad and tragic concern. Fortunately in my community, organizations such as Hope House, MOSCA, and Rose Brooks are there for women and children in need. This measure will help reach women who are not now being served because of current limited resources.
Around the world, the problem of trafficking in women and girls is growing. Currently, trafficking is the third largest source of profits for organized crime. America has a responsibility to address this problem because over 50,000 women are illegally trafficked into our country each year. Through prevention and immigration services, this measure will aid these women who have been forcibly removed from their homes and shipped overseas.
I urge reauthorization of this vitally important measure to empower millions of women worldwide through protection of their bodies and spirits. I applaud the numerous women's organizations and fellow co-sponsors who have worked tirelessly on these issues, and I salute the commitment of this Congress to enact this measure.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure, and I am delighted that we have found an acceptable vehicle to attach a provision to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act. This is an area that deserves continued attention in our country, and we must continue to spread the word to reduce the violence that occurs every day against American women.
The agreement in H.R. 3244 will fund programs to combat violence against women, including much-needed battered women's shelters and services, sexual assault prevention programs and education and training for judges. Unfortunately, this is a problem that continues to be prevalent in my area and has an impact on the entire community. However, H.R. 3244 goes a long way toward curbing the violence that affects women victims by assuring access to free shelters. Hopefully, this bill will continue as a positive step to reduce the overall domestic violence that plagues our communities.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge all of my colleagues to vote for H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which includes reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The Strengthened Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) we will vote on today reauthorizes current VAWA grant programs for five years, makes targeted improvements, and adds important new programs.
The bill strengthens law enforcement efforts to reduce violence against women, increases services to victims of violence, seeks to limit the effects of violence on children, enhances education and training to combat violence against women, and provides important new protections for battered immigrant women.
The original VAWA bill authorized $1.5 billion for programs to protect women and children from domestic abuse. The bill we will vote on today provides $3.4 billion for the 2001-2005 reauthorization period.
The passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 was one of the greatest accomplishments of the 103rd Congress and the Clinton Administration. Since 1995, VAWA grants have provided a major source of funding for national and local programs to reduce rape, stalking, and domestic violence. The 1994 Act bolstered the prosecution of child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence cases; provided services for victims by funding shelters and sexual assault crisis centers; increased resources for law enforcement and presecutors; and created a National Domestic Violence Hotline.
The VAWA bill we will vote on today provides important new provisions to prevent and prosecute dating violence, to help women who are trying to escape domestic violence by providing transitional housing and legal assistance services, to enforce state and tribal protection orders nationwide, to improve services to victims of violence, and much more.
I also strongly support the Trafficking Protection Act, which strengthens current law to prevent the unlawful international trafficking of women and children, to increase penalties for those who engage in this abhorrent practice, and to protect the victims of trafficking. This modern form of slavery, which forces women and children into prostitution or forced labor must be eliminated.
I am confident that my colleagues will vote to support H.R. 3244, which provides vital protections for women and children and gives us the tools we need to prosecute those who prey upon them.
Mr. Speaker, this Member rises today in support of the conference report for H.R. 3244, the Transportation appropriations bill for fiscal year 2001. This Member greatly appreciates the inclusion of $3.5 million for the construction of a pedestrian/trolley overpass in Lincoln, Nebraska. This request was this Member's highest infrastructure priority for fiscal year 2001.
The City of Lincoln, Nebraska, is seeking Federal assistance for transportation improvements associated with the construction of a new baseball/softball complex. The construction of the complex, to be built on the edge of downtown Lincoln, represents a partnership between the City, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and private business. It will be home of a minor league baseball team, the UN-L baseball and softball teams, as well as any number of City of Lincoln recreational activities.
Currently, the most pressing need for the City of Lincoln in the completion of this project, is the construction of a pedestrian/trolley overpass that would allow for safe and enhanced access to the stadium. The reason this bridge is so vital is that it would provide important connections between the baseball complex, the popular Haymarket section of Lincoln, the City's trails system, the University of Nebraska campus, and parking facilities for both the baseball complex and the home of the Husker football team, Memorial Stadium. What makes this development site unusual and difficult, but the reason it is available, is the fact that it is separated from the downtown area by I-180 and what is literally one of the world's busiest train routes where huge amounts of western coal are moved east, along with large volumes of other freight. Therefore, the City of Lincoln plans to use and really must use the most innovative techniques to move large numbers of people in short periods to this site during events. The approach selected must be chosen to allow for enhanced transit, paratransit, bicycle, and pedestrian access from the University and the Lincoln community.
The City of Lincoln has already committed $1 million. The $3.5 million appropriation in the Transportation appropriations conference report is necessary for Lincoln to compete this important project.
Within the conference report, however, Mr. Speaker, is the .08 blood alcohol mandate. Although the conference compromise agreement is better than the Senate-passed language, this Member is opposed to all Federal mandates on Highway Trust Funds which require either the passage of specific state legislation or the loss of Federal highway funds. This Member has always opposed any provisions which would limit or reduce the Highway Trust Funds or limit the states' ability to use their Highway Trust Funds as they choose. Nebraskans and other Americans pay their gasoline taxes at the pump and deserve to have them returned for highway construction and maintenance and other transportation projects, without strings being attached. In short, states should be allocated money from the highway trust funds without conditionality being applied for any objectives--be those objectives noble or misguided. Of course, this Member recognizes that drunk driving remains a serious problem--and in fact more than twenty-four years ago introduced what he has been told was the first bill in the Nebraska Legislature to lower the standard to .08 percent; unfortunately, it never made it out of committee because of the strenuous opposition of the alcohol lobby. This Member believes that under the U.S. Constitution, the establishment of the blood alcohol content level as it relates to driving is the responsibility of the states, not the Federal Government. Nevertheless, despite this very strong concern I believe the case for the prompt enactment of this legislation is compelling.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, this Member urges his colleagues to support
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the conference report.
There was no objection.
The question is on the conference report.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 371, nays 1, not voting 62, as follows:
So the conference report was agreed to.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
Mr. Speaker, due to a conflict, I missed rollcall No. 518. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea'' on adoption of the conference report for H.R. 3244, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 518, I could not be present. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea.''
Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 518, I could not be present. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea.''
Mr. Speaker, on rollcall No. 518, I could not be present. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea.''
Mr. Speaker, due to sickness in my family and thus the need to return home to my district, I was unable to vote on rollcall vote No. 518. Had I been present, I would have voted ``yea'' on H.R. 3244, final passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
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