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[Congressional Record: October 6, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S10043-S10044]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []


  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, in the spirit of moving forward, I 
thank colleagues for the bipartisan work on the Trafficking Victims 
Protection Act. I especially thank Senator Brownback with whom I have 
had a chance to work very closely on this bill. There are other key 
people as well.
  This conference report, without going into all the details, which 
will come to the Senate I hope--``pray'' may not be too strong a word--
probably Tuesday--it looks as if we are just now working out a time 
agreement. I thank all Senators for their cooperation.
  What is important about this legislation is that we have one part of 
it that deals with trafficking, which I want to talk about in a moment, 
and the other is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act 
which received a huge vote in the House of Representatives.
  The Violence Against Women Act, VAWA, has made a huge difference. I 
could talk for hours about the shelters, about the hotline, about the 
ways in which police take violence against women more seriously, about 
the ways in which the country takes this more seriously. Still, about 
every 13 seconds a woman is battered in her home, and still there are 
somewhere around 3 million to 10 million children who witness this.
  We have to do even better. I look forward to a couple of efforts next 
year, one dealing with a program which will electronically link all of 
the shelters, so with one phone call, one, you will know where to go 
and can be saved, and, two, it will focus on the children who witness 
this violence. I feel good about the fact we are going to move forward 
with this. It certainly appears that way. I thank all Senators who have 
been willing to cooperate.
  I also feel good about the trafficking bill on which I have had a 
chance, as I said, to work with Senator Brownback.
  So colleagues know, these two pieces of legislation have a lot of 
integrity in how they interrelate with one another. One deals with 
violence against women, children, and families. There are a number of 
women organizations around this country that have worked on this. They 
made this possible. And the strong voices of Senators--from Senator 
Biden to Senator Leahy to Senator Boxer and others--have made a huge 
  I started on the trafficking legislation 3 years ago. I do not even 
know if it is appropriate to brag, but it is not about me. My wife 
Sheila said this is something we really should do. There has been great 
help from a lot of Senators.
  Again, I thank Senator Brownback and also Representatives Chris Smith 
and Sam Gejdenson for their help and work, and Connie Morella is always 
there on all these issues. I will talk more about staff and the great 
work by people after this passes. It has not passed yet, but I think we 
are there. I say to Senator Reid, I believe we are there in terms of 
finally getting a time agreement and we can move this forward.
  We are talking about the trafficking of some 2 million women, and 
mainly girls, for the purposes of forced prostitution and forced labor, 
some 50,000 to our country. This rivals drug trafficking in terms of 
how scummy it is and how exploitative it is.
  What happens is these women, girls, in countries that are going 
through economic chaos and disarray are recruited. They are told they 
will have an opportunity to be a waitress, an opportunity to come to 
another country, such as our country, and make an income and be able to 
build a good life.

  This happened at a ``massage parlor'' 2 miles from here in Bethesda 
where these girls were forced into prostitution. What happens is, these 
young women, young girls, do not know their rights; they do not know 
what they are getting into. They come to these countries, and then it 
becomes a nightmare.
  This legislation focuses on prevention. We have an outreach through 
AID with some of the nongovernment organizations and others who really 
do the information work so that young girls, young women, know what 
might be happening to them, know about trafficking, know what the 
dangers are, and hopefully will have some knowledge about this before 
they are exploited. That is the first piece.
  The second piece is the protection piece. The bitter irony is that 
all too often one of these young girls, young women, steps forward and 
says: This is what is happening to me. If they should escape from it, 
they then are deported. So the victim is the one who ends up being 
punished. There is a temporary visa extension for 3 years, and then 
decisions are made after that.
  There are services for these women and girls. I say ``girls'' because 
we are talking about children, too, 12, 13 years of age. In Minnesota, 
we have a very, I think, holy place called the Center for the Treatment 
of Torture Victims. When women and children go through this hell, there 
is a whole lot that needs to be done to help them rebuild their lives. 
We have a provision for those services.
  The final thing is prosecution. If you are going to be involved in 
the trafficking of a girl under the age of 16 for purposes of forced 
prostitution, you can face a life sentence. We should take this 
seriously. We will be the first country to pass such strong 
legislation, the first Government in the world. This will be a model 
for a lot of other governments around the world.
  This is one of the best human rights pieces of legislation in the 
Congress in some time. I am not objective because I have had a chance 
to be a part of it. I am proud of the fact that we are going to do 
this. I am proud of the fact that it is going to be linked with the 
reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And I am proud of 
the fact the Senate next week, I hope early on, right after Yom Kippur, 
the Jewish holiday, will take decisive action and will pass this most 
important human rights legislation. I say to all colleagues, please 
cooperate. Please, let's do this. This will make a difference. It will 
make a difference.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.

[[Page S10044]]

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, before the Senator from Minnesota leaves the 
floor, I want to make a couple comments. There have been, as the 
Senator indicated, a number of people who have worked very hard on 
domestic violence. Senator Joe Biden authored the original legislation 
and has been a model for what has transpired since then.
  I say in the presence of the Senator from Minnesota that since he 
came to the Senate, this has been an issue he has worked on 
passionately. I appreciate the work he has done.
  The Senator from Minnesota mentioned his wife Sheila. I remember the 
work the two of them have done together.
  I remember the display they put in the Russell Building, which 
certainly dramatized the need for continuing the work in this area. 
There are many unique partnerships in America today, but one of those 
that I admire greatly is that of Paul and Sheila Wellstone. They have 
worked on these issues together. I think it goes without saying that 
the good work the Senator has done would not be as good but for the 
involvement of his wife.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Senator Reid from Nevada is very gracious towards lots 
of Senators. That is just the way he is. I thank the Senator very much.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HOLLINGS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


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