U.S.EXECUTIVE MEMORANDUM: Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Women and Girls

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Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 11:06:33 -0800 (PST)


Subject: Executive Memorandum: Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and
Trafficking in Women and Girls

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release March 11, 1998

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT,
THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY

SUBJECT: Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and
Trafficking in Women and Girls

As we celebrate International Women's Day today, we highlight the
achievements of women around the world. We also acknowledge that there is
much work yet to be done to ensure that women's human rights are protected
and respected. The momentum generated by the United Nations Fourth World
Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 continues to encourage our
government, as well as nations around the world, to fulfill our commitments
to improve the lives of women and girls.

I have, once again, called upon the Senate to give its advice and consent
to ratification to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women, thus enabling the United States to join 161
other countries in support of the Convention. This Convention is an
effective tool that can be used to combat violence against women, reform
unfair inheritance and property rights, and strengthen women's access to
fair employment and economic opportunity. Ratification of this Convention
will enhance our efforts to promote the status of women around the world.
As we look at Afghanistan and the egregious human rights violations
committed against women and girls at the hands of the Taliban, we recognize
that this is an issue of global importance.

My Administration is working hard to eliminate violence against women in
all its forms. Our efforts help to combat this human rights violation
around the world and here in the United States. As part of the 1994 Crime
Bill, I signed into law the Violence Against Women Act. This legislation
declares certain forms of
violence against women to be Federal crimes and provides for critical
assistance to States, tribes, and local communities
in their efforts to respond to this problem. The Department of Justice is
implementing the Violence Against Women Act and working with communities
across the country to promote criminal prosecution and provide services to
victims. Through the Department of Health and Human Services, we have
established for the first time a nationwide domestic violence hotline, so
that women throughout the country can call one toll-free number and be
connected to a local domestic violence support center. We have come a long
way since 1994, and I am proud of our efforts.

Each day recognition of the importance of this issue grows around the
world. In recent years, many countries have begun to respond to calls for
legislation and government programs addressing violence against women. The
international community increasingly regards violence against women as a
fundamental human rights violation, an impediment to a nation's
development, and an obstacle to women's full participation in democracy.

Today I am directing the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the
President's Interagency Council on Women to continue and expand their work
to combat violence against women here in the United States and around the
world. We have made great progress since the enactment of the Violence
Against Women Act in 1994, but there remains much to be done. We must
continue to work to implement the Act fully and to restore the Act's
protection for immigrant victims of domestic violence here in the United
States so that they will not be forced to choose between deportation and
abuse.

The problem of trafficking in women and girls, an insidious form of
violence, has received a great deal of attention from the world community.
This is an international problem with national implications. Here in the
United States, we have seen cases of trafficking for the purposes of forced
prostitution, sweatshop labor, and exploitative domestic servitude. The
victims in these cases often believe they will be entering our country to
secure a decent job. Instead, they are virtual prisoners, with no
resources, little recourse, and no protection against violations of their
human rights. My Administration is committed to combating trafficking in
women and girls with a focus on the areas of prevention, victim assistance
and protection, and enforcement. Our work on this issue has been enhanced
by a strong partnership with nongovernmental groups and the U.S. Congress.

I am also directing the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the
President's Interagency Council on Women to increase national and
international awareness about trafficking
in women and girls. I want to ensure that young women and girls are
educated about this problem so that they will not fall prey to traffickers'
tactics of coercion, violence, fraud, and deceit.

I also want to provide protection to victims. And finally, I want to
enhance the capacity of law enforcement worldwide to prevent women and
girls from being trafficked and ensure that traffickers are punished.

Therefore, I direct:

I. The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Administrator of the
Agency for International Development, to strengthen and expand our efforts
to combat violence against women in all its forms around the world. These
efforts should be responsive to government and nongovernment requests for
partnerships, expert guidance, and technical assistance to address this
human rights violation.

II. The President's Interagency Council on Women to coordinate the United
States Government response on trafficking in women and girls, in
consultation with nongovernmental groups.

III. The Attorney General to examine current treatment of victims of
trafficking including to determine ways to insure: the provision of
services for victims and witnesses in settings that secure their safety;
precautions for the safe return of victims and witnesses to their
originating countries; witness cooperation in criminal trials against
traffickers; and consideration of
temporary and/or permanent legal status for victims and witnesses of
trafficking who lack legal status.

IV. The Attorney General to review existing U.S. criminal laws and their
current use to determine if they are adequate to prevent and deter
trafficking in women and girls, to recommend any appropriate legal changes
to ensure that trafficking is criminalized and that the consequences of
trafficking are significant, and to review current prosecution efforts
against traffickers in order to identify additional intelligence sources,
evidentiary needs and resource capabilities.

V. The Secretary of State to use our diplomatic presence around the world
to work with source, transit, and destination countries to develop
strategies for protecting and assisting victims of trafficking and to
expand and enhance anti-fraud training to stop the international
trafficking of women and girls.

VI. The Secretary of State to coordinate an intergovernmental response to
the Government of Ukraine's request to jointly develop and implement a
comprehensive strategy to combat trafficking in women and girls from and to
Ukraine. The U.S.-Ukraine cooperation will serve as a model for a
multi-disciplinary approach to combat trafficking that can be expanded to
other countries.

VII. The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General, to
expand and strengthen assistance to the international community in
developing and enacting legislation to combat trafficking in women and
girls, to provide assistance to victims of trafficking, and to continue to
expand efforts to train legal and law enforcement personnel worldwide.

VIII. The Secretary of State and the Director of the United States
Information Agency to expand public awareness campaigns targeted to warn
potential victims of the methods used by traffickers.

IX. The President's Interagency Council on Women to convene a gathering of
government and nongovernment representatives from source, transit, and
destination countries and representatives from international organizations
to call attention to the issue of trafficking in women and girls and to
develop strategies for combating this fundamental human rights violation.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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