[Stop-traffic] U.S. Passes Anti-Trafficking Legislation

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] U.S. Passes Anti-Trafficking Legislation
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Fri Oct 13 2000 - 10:58:47 EDT

For the complete bill, please go to:

      Senator Paul Wellstone's
      HR 3244: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of
      Bill Summary

       Establishes a two-tier definition of trafficking, involving "sex
      trafficking" under Tier 1 and "severe forms of trafficking in persons"
      under Tier 2. Tier 1 concerns work in the sex industry only (voluntary
      or forced), and Tier 2 concerns all labor, which includes sex work if
      there is an element of force, fraud or coercion. Tier 2 is the only
      operative definition for enforcement and sanctions against governments
      or individuals.
       The term "coercion" means threats of serious harm or physical
      restraint, circumstances not necessarily including physical force but
      intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act
      will result in serious harm or physical restraint to any person, or
      the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

         Country Reports on Trafficking
       Requires an expansion of reporting on severe forms of trafficking
      in persons in the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

         Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking
       To improve inter-agency cooperation, establishes an Interagency
      Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, chaired by the Secretary
      of State. Authorizes within the Department of State an Office to
      Monitor and Combat Trafficking to assist the Task Force.
       The Task Force will (1) coordinate anti-trafficking efforts; (2)
      assess domestic and international progress on trafficking prevention,
      protection and assistance to trafficking victims, and prosecution and
      enforcement against traffickers; and have the primary responsibility
      for assisting the Secretary of State in the preparation of the reports
      used in the determination of countries to be sanctioned; (3) expand
      data collection procedures on trafficking here and abroad; (4)
      facilitate cooperation among countries of origin, transit and
      destination; (5) examine the role of the international "sex tourism"
      industry in the trafficking of women and recommend measures to combat
      it; and (6) consult with governmental and non-governmental
      organizations to advance anti-trafficking efforts.

         Trafficking Prevention
       To address poverty and lack of public awareness which fuels the
      trafficking industry, appropriate government agencies, in consultation
      with non-governmental organizations, will establish initiatives to
      enhance economic opportunity for trafficking victims, primarily women
      and children, by increasing access to job and skills training,
      micro-credit lending programs, and education.
       Requires public awareness and information campaigns in the US and
      abroad about the dangers of trafficking, and protections available for
      trafficking victims.

         Protection and Assistance for Victims of Trafficking
       Increases the capacity of foreign countries to safely reintegrate
      victims of trafficking into their societies, and to engage in
      cooperative efforts with other countries.
       Expands existing domestic services to provide assistance to victims
      of trafficking in persons, regardless of immigration status.
       For the purposes of receiving such assistance, a victim is one who
      (1) has not attained 18 years of age; or (2) is willing to assist in
      every reasonable way in the investigation and prosecution of
      trafficking; and (i) has made a bone fide application for a
      trafficking visa, or (ii) is a person whose continued presence the
      Attorney General is ensuring to effectuate prosecution of trafficking.
       Requires the Attorney General and Secretary of State to jointly
      issue regulations for law enforcement personnel, immigration
      officials, and foreign service officers to help them better identify
      and provide protection and other assistance to trafficking victims.

         Immigration Assistance
       Aliens in the US who are trafficking victims, as determined by the
      Attorney General, are permitted to remain in the US under a new
      non-immigrant visa subject to certain conditions.
       The victim must have (1) (i) complied with any reasonably request
      for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of
      trafficking, or (ii) not have attained the age of 15; and (2) would
      suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed
      from the US.
       Provides the Attorney General discretion to adjust the status of
      trafficking victims to permanent resident. The total number of aliens
      who may be issued such a visa can not exceed 5,000 annually.

         Actions Against Countries and Persons Involved in Trafficking
       Establishes minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking
      for countries of origin, transit or destination for a significant
      number of victims and requires the Secretary of State to list: (A)
      those countries which fully comply with such standards; (B) those
      countries which do not yet fully comply with such standards but are
      making significant efforts to come into compliance; and (C) those
      countries which do not fully comply with such standards and are not
      making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.
       Requires the President to impose sanctions on countries in tier
       The President shall exercise his waiver so as to avoid adverse
      effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children and if
      it is in the national interest (national interest waiver).
       Authorizes the Secretary of State to publish a list of foreign
      persons involved in trafficking and authorizes the President to impose
      International Emergency Economic Powers Act-type sanctions against any
      foreign person on that list.

         Strengthening Prosecution and Punishment of Traffickers
       Enhances existing criminal penalties and criminalizes all forms of
      trafficking in persons.
       Increases penalties under existing slavery and peonage statutes,
      including life imprisonment for cases resulting in death, or involving
      kidnaping, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill. Provides
      for life imprisonment for sex trafficking in children if the victim is
      under the age of 14, and imprisonment for up to 20 years if the victim
      is between 14-18.
       Provides for substantial fines or imprisonment for those who
      confiscate documents from trafficking victims as part of the
      trafficking scheme, authorizes restitution for trafficking victims,
      and provides for criminal forfeiture of traffickers' assets. Also
      provides for witness protection and review of federal sentencing

       Authorizes $94.5 million in appropriations for FY 2001 and for FY
      2002, including $4.5 million for the Interagency Task Force, $15
      million for the President to institute prevention initiatives, and $15
      million to help foreign countries meet the minimum international
      standards for the elimination of trafficking, and $15 million each for
      the Departments of Health and Human Services, State, Justice and Labor
      for domestic and international victim assistance programs.
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