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[Congressional Record: July 27, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S7788-S7789]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr27jy00-116]                         



 
               TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT OF 2000

  Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, I recognize my colleague from Minnesota 
today, for legislation that he and I have been working on together has 
passed this body. It previously passed the House, and now will go to 
conference. It is The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. It is 
a bill--one of the first perhaps in the world--to address the growing 
ugly practice of sex trafficking where people are traded into human 
bondage--again, into the sex and prostitution business around the 
world. It is an ugly practice that is growing. More organized crime is 
getting into it. It is one of the darker sides of globalization that is 
taking place in the world.
  It is estimated that the size of this business is $7 billion 
annually, only surpassed by that of the illegal arms trade on an 
illegal basis. If those numbers aren't stark enough, the numbers of the 
individuals involved is stark enough.
  Our intelligence community estimates that up to 700,000 women and 
children--primarily young girls--are trafficked, generally from poorer 
countries to richer countries each year, and sold into bondage; raped, 
held against their will, locked up, and food withheld from them until 
they submit to this sex trade. That is taking place in our world in the 
year 2000. Our intelligence community estimates that 50,000 are 
trafficked into the United States into this ugly traffic.
  I had a personal experience with this earlier this year. In January, 
I traveled to Nepal and met with a number of girls who had been 
trafficked and then returned. They had been tricked to leave their 
villages. Many of them were told at the ages of 11, 12, or 13: Come 
with us. We are going to get you a job as a housekeeper, or making 
rugs, or some other thing in Bombay, India, that will be much better 
than what you are doing now.
  Their families don't have the wherewithal to pay their livelihood. 
Their families are poor as can be. They are not able to feed them, and 
the families say: Go ahead.
  They then take them across the border. They take their papers from 
them. They force them into brothels in Bombay or Calcutta or somewhere 
else and force them into this trade.
  Some of these girls make their way back at the age of 16 or 17 years 
of age. Two-thirds of them now carry AIDS and/or tuberculosis. Most of 
them come home to die.
  It is one of the ugliest, darkest things I have seen around the 
world.
  The Senate took the step today to start to deal with this practice 
that is occurring around the world, and that is occurring in the United 
States.
  My colleague, Senator Wellstone, and I worked this legislation 
together to be able to get it moved through this body.
  I am so thankful to him and other people who have worked greatly on 
this legislation to get it passed.
  I particularly want to recognize, on my staff, Sharon Payt, who has 
leaned in for a long time to be able to get this done.
  This is the new, modern form of slavery.
  Trafficking victims are the new enslaved of the world. Until lately, 
they have had no advocates, no defenders, no avenues of escape, except 
death, to release them from the hellish types of circumstances and 
conditions they have been trafficked into. This is changing rapidly--a 
new movement of awareness is forming to wrench freedom for the victims 
and combat trafficking networks. This growing movement runs from 
`right' to `left,' from Chuck Colson to Gloria Steinem, and from Sam 
Brownback to Paul Wellstone. Our legislation, which passed today, is 
part of that movement, providing numerous protections and tools to 
empower these brutalized people toward re-capturing their dignity and 
obtaining justice, and getting their lives back.

  Trafficking has risen dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years with 
experts speculating that it could exceed the drug trade in revenues in 
the next few decades. It is coldly observed that drugs are sold once, 
while a woman or child can be sold 20 and even 30 times a day. This 
dramatic increase is attributed also to the popularizing of the sex 
industry worldwide, including the increase of child pornography, and 
sex tours in Eastern Asia. As the world's dark appetite for these 
practices grows, so do the number of victims in this evil manifestation 
of global trade.
  The victims are usually transported across international borders so 
as to `shake' local authorities, leaving them defenseless in a foreign 
country, virtually held hostage in a strange land. Perpetrating further 
vulnerability, often they are ``traded'' routinely among brothels in 
different cities. This deliberate ploy robs them of assistance from 
family, friends, and authorities.

  The favorite age for girls in some countries is around 13 years of 
age. I have a 14-year-old daughter and it almost makes me cry to think 
of somebody being taken out of the home at that age and submitted and 
subjected and forced into this type of situation. Thirteen is the 
favorite age. There is a demand particularly for virgins because of the 
fear of AIDS. Now, imagine, your daughter, your sister, your 
granddaughter in that hellish condition.
  International trafficking routes are very specific and include the 
Eastern European states, particularly Russia and the Ukraine, into 
Central Europe and Israel. Other routes include girls sold or abducted 
from Nepal to India--the Nepalese girls are prized because they are 
beautiful, illiterate, extremely poor with no defenders, and compliant, 
making it easy to keep them in bondage. In Eastern Asia, most abductees 
are simple tribal girls from isolated mountain regions who are forced 
into sexual service, primarily in Thailand and Malaysia. These are only 
a few of the countless but repeatedly traveled routes.
  One of two methods, fraud or force, is used to obtain victims. Force 
is often used in the cities wherein, for example, the victim is 
physically abducted and held against her will, sometimes in chains, and 
usually brutalized through repeated rape and beatings. Regarding 
fraudulent procurement, typically the ``buyer'' promises the parents 
that he is taking their daughter away to become a nanny or domestic 
servant, giving the parents a few hundred dollars as a ``down payment'' 
for the future money she will earn for the family. Then the girl is 
transported across international borders, deposited in a brothel and 
forced into the trade until she is no longer useful having contracted 
AIDS. She is held against her will under the rationale that she must 
``work off'' her debt which was paid to the parents, which usually 
takes several years, if she remains alive that long.
  A Washington Post article, Sex Trade Enslaves East Europeans, dated 
July 25th, vividly captures the suffering of one Eastern Europe woman 
who was trafficked through Albania to Italy: ``As Irina recounts the 
next part of her story, she picks and scratches at the skin on her 
face, arms and legs, as if looking for an escape . . . she says the 
women were raped by a succession of Albanian men who stopped by at all 
hours, in what seemed part of a carefully organized campaign of 
psychological conditioning for a life of prostitution.'' This insidious 
activity must be challenged, and our legislation would do exactly that. 
That is what this body has passed today.
  This legislation establishes, for the first time, a bright line 
between the victim and perpetrator. Presently, most existing laws 
internationally fail to distinguish between victims of sexual 
trafficking and their perpetrators. Sadly and ironically, victims are 
punished more harshly than the traffickers, because of their illegal 
immigration status and lack of documents (which the traffickers have 
confiscated to control the victim).
  In contrast, our legislation punishes the perpetrators and provides 
an advocacy forum to promote international awareness, as well as 
providing the following:
  Criminal punishment for persons convicted of operating as traffickers 
in the U.S.
  Creates a new immigration status termed a ``T'' visa for trafficking 
victims found in the U.S., to promote aggressive prosecution of 
traffickers.
  Directs USAID, as well as domestic government agencies to fund 
programs

[[Page S7789]]

for victim assistance and awareness to help stop this practice, both 
overseas and domestically.
  Establishes an annual reporting mechanism to identify trafficking 
offenders, both individual and country-specific.
  Advances rule of law programs to promote combating of international 
sex trafficking.
  Authorizes grants for law enforcement agencies to investigate and 
prosecute international trafficking, and assist in drafting and 
implementation of new legislation.
  In closing, there is a unique generosity in the American people, who 
are defined by their vigilance for justice. As we challenge this 
dehumanizing practice, an inspired movement is growing in America and 
worldwide. Sparking this awareness are courageous groups which deserve 
acknowledgment, including the International Justice Mission with Gary 
Haugen, and the Protection Project with Dr. Laura Lederer, among 
several others. Both Senator Wellstone and I hope this legislation is 
the beginning of the end for this modern-day slavery known as 
trafficking.
  Mr. President, we had five major health organizations come together 
and identify the violence in our entertainment that is harming our 
children. The organizations include the American Medical Association, 
American Psychological Association, American Academy of Child and 
Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and 
the American Academy of Pediatricians.
  I turn the floor back over to my colleague from Minnesota. Today, his 
interest has culminated in this legislation passing this body. This is 
the most significant human rights legislation we have passed this 
Congress, if not for several years. This is going to save lives. It 
will start identifying this pernicious, ugly, dark practice around the 
world for what it is. We are going to start saving people's lives as a 
result of it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sessions). The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, the Senate tonight passed the 
Trafficking in Victims Protection Act of 2000. Similar legislation 
passed the House. The conference committee is committed to this 
legislation. I don't think there is any question but that the Congress 
is going to pass this bill. This was a huge step forward.
  I thank Senator Brownback who for 3\1/2\ years, at least, has been 
working on this. It started with my wife Sheila, who brought this to my 
attention. I remember meeting with women from Ukraine--which is where 
my father was born--describing what had happened to them.
  Senator Brownback is absolutely right. This is one of the brutal 
aspects of this new global economy. It supplements drug trafficking, 
except quite often it is more profitable, believe it or not, because 
the women--girls--are recycled over and over again. We are talking 
about close to 1 million women and girls, the trafficking of these 
women and girls for purposes of forced prostitution or forced labor.
  We are talking about the trafficking of some 50,000 women, girls, to 
our country. Two miles away, in Bethesda, there was a massage parlor 
with a group of girls from Ukraine. The country is in economic 
disarray. They thought this was an opportunity. They came to our 
country. Their passports were taken away. They were isolated. Senator 
Brownback talked about the isolation. They were beaten up. They were 
raped. They were forced into prostitution. In our country, in the year 
2000, this goes on in the world, and in the United States of America.
  This legislation would never pass without the leadership of Senator 
Brownback and the leadership of Sharon Payt. I thank Wes Carrington, 
who is on the floor with me, and Jill Hickson, two fellows who have 
been gifts from Heaven, and Charlotte Moore, who has been working on 
this, and my wife Sheila.

  I could talk for hours about this, but I will emphasize a couple of 
key aspects. First, prevention, a focus on doing the public information 
work in these countries and work with the consulates so these girls 
have some understanding of what their rights are, so they are warned 
about the dangers of this when the recruiters are out there to try to 
prevent this from happening in the first place; and an emphasis on how 
you can get economic development from microenterprise to opportunities 
for women. Part of the problem is the way in which women are so 
devalued in too many nations. Also, the grinding poverty.
  Second, protection. The bitter, bitter, bitter irony, colleagues, is 
that quite often the victims are the ones who are punished, and these 
mobsters and criminals who are involved in the trafficking of these 
women and girls with this blatant exploitation get away with literally 
murder.
  One of the problems is that these girls and women can't step forward 
because then they will be deported. So we have an extension of 
temporary visas for up to 3 years for the women, girls, and a final 
decision is made as to whether or not they can stay in the country.
  In addition, there is some help for them. We have in Minnesota the 
Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims. It is a holy place. It is 
a spiritual place. Most of these women and men come from Africa. They 
have been through a living hell. We read about child soldiers. We read 
about what is happening. It takes a long time for people to be able to 
rebuild their lives when they have been through this, when they have 
been tortured.
  There are 120 governments today in the world that are engaged in this 
systematic use of torture today; the same thing for these women and 
girls. Imagine what it is like for them. There is help for them.
  Finally, prosecution, and taking this seriously, treating it as a 
crime so, for example, if you are trafficking a young girl under the 
age of 14 and forcing her into prostitution, you face a life sentence 
in prison.
  And finally, not automatic sanctions but a listing of those 
governments which are involved in the trafficking, which have turned 
their gaze away and refused to do anything about it. With it being up 
to a President, be he Democrat or Republican or she a Democrat or 
Republican, in the future, as to whether or not there is an action to 
be taken.

  It is a good piece of legislation. I think Senator Brownback is 
right. I think it is the human rights legislation to pass the Congress. 
It will pass. Mr. Koh, Assistant Secretary of Human Rights at the State 
Department, has been great. The administration has been supportive. We 
have had a lot of support from Democrats and Republicans here, and I 
really feel good about it.
  I said to Senator Brownback, I think Senator Bennett can appreciate 
this because I think he is like this--the first part I don't want to 
say is his view--but there are some days where I just cannot decide 
whether or not I have really been able to help anybody. You try, but 
you just sometimes get so frustrated. I think this piece of legislation 
we passed will help a lot of people. I really do, I say to Senator 
Brownback. I think it is a good model for other governments, other 
countries. I am not being grandiose here. I think we can get this out 
to a lot of fellow legislators in other nations and other NGOs. I know 
there is a lot of interest.
  I rise to speak about this bill, to tell my colleague from Kansas, 
Senator Brownback, I appreciated working with him, and to say to the 
Senate--all the Senators; after all, this passed by unanimous consent--
thank you, thank you for your support.

                          ____________________


							  
							  


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