Statement by the President: H.R. 3244, the "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000" (10/28/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                                         October 28, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 3244, the "Victims of
Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000" (the "Act").  This
landmark legislation accomplishes a number of important objectives and
Administration priorities.  It strengthens and improves upon the Nation's
efforts to fight violence against women.  It also provides important new
tools and resources to combat the worldwide scourge of trafficking in
persons and provides vital assistance to victims of trafficking.  And it
helps American victims of terrorism abroad to collect court-awarded

     This legislation builds on the "Violence Against Women Act of 1994"
(VAWA), which created new Federal crimes and enhanced penalties to combat
sexual assault and domestic violence, and established new grant programs
for law enforcement agencies, prosecution offices, and victim services
organizations to fight violence against women.  It also authorized funding
for education, outreach, and prevention programs, which have helped to
create coordinated community responses to violence against women throughout
the United States.  While we can certainly take pride in what we have
accomplished since 1994, we know we must do more.  To that end, H.R. 3244
reauthorizes VAWA and improves on the original bill by establishing several
new initiatives.

     I am particularly pleased that H.R. 3244 reauthorizes VAWA's grant
programs through Fiscal Year 2005.  The Act improves several current
programs by setting aside 5 percent of VAWA grant funds for tribes and
directing resources toward certain traditionally underserved populations,
such as victims of dating violence, older women, and women with
disabilities.  The Act requires certain VAWA's grantees to facilitate the
filing and service of protection orders without cost to the victims.  The
Act authorizes a civil legal assistance program for victims of domestic
violence, sexual assault, and stalking, who desperately need help with
legal matters related to their
abuse.  The Act authorizes appropriations through Fiscal Year 2005 for the
National Domestic Violence Hotline, battered women's shelters, and rape
prevention and education grants.  H.R. 3244 requires national standards and
protocols for con-ducting sexual assault forensic examinations, as well as
establishes supervised visitation programs, which will help ensure that
children are safe when visiting with their parents and that battered women
remain safe during visitation exchanges.

     The Act also will improve the ability of Federal prosecutors to
prosecute interstate crimes of domestic violence, stalking, and violations
of protection orders.  The Act creates an interstate cyberstalking offense.
The Act enhances the enforcement of protection orders across State and
tribal lines by prohibiting registration as a prerequisite to enforcement
of out-of-state or tribal orders and by prohibiting notification of a
batterer without the victim's consent when an order is registered in a new
jurisdiction.  Moreover, the Act amends the Parental Kidnaping Prevention
Act to expand emergency jurisdiction to cover domestic violence, thus
enabling victims who flee abuse to obtain custody orders without returning
to the jurisdiction where the batterer resides.




     Of great importance, H.R. 3244 restores and expands VAWA's protections
for battered immigrants by helping them escape abuse and by holding
batterers accountable.  The Act establishes a new nonimmigrant visa
classification, which will offer greater protection to victims, while
strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to detect,
investigate, and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault,
trafficking, and other violent crimes.

     I am confident that enactment of these provisions and the other
improvements to VAWA contained in H.R. 3244 will substantially enhance our
efforts to end violence against women in America and provide essential
services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

     Similarly, the Act's anti-trafficking provisions represent a major
step forward in my Administration's ongoing effort to eradicate modern-day
slavery.  In 1998, on International Women's Day, I issued an Executive
Memorandum directing my Administration to combat this insidious human
rights abuse through a three-part strategy of prosecuting traffickers,
protecting and assisting trafficking victims, and preventing trafficking.
We worked hard with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to craft
comprehensive and effective legislation that would strengthen our ability
to implement this strategy.  I am pleased that this bipartisan effort has
resulted in this landmark anti-trafficking legislation.

     Over the past several years, we have taken every opportunity to shine
a bright light on this dark corner of the criminal underworld, in part by
continually raising with leaders around the world the need to work together
to combat this intolerable and reprehensible practice.  Last spring, the
United States and the Philippines co-hosted a regional conference attended
by over 20 Asian and Pacific nations to develop a regional action plan to
combat trafficking and protect trafficking victims.  The United States
proposed and recently concluded 2 years of negotiations on a United Nations
protocol to combat trafficking in persons which, for the first time, will
require countries everywhere to criminalize trafficking and will provide a
framework for enhanced protection of and assistance to victims.

     I want to thank the First Lady, the Secretary of State, and the
Attorney General for their leadership on this important issue.  The
Secretary of State, as Chair of the President's Interagency Council on
Women, has led my Administration's interagency development and coordination
of international and domestic anti-trafficking efforts.  The First Lady has
worked tirelessly to bring this issue out of the shadows.  She has helped
to mobilize the international community to address trafficking as both a
human rights issue and a global crime
problem.  The Attorney General created the National Worker Exploitation
Task Force to work in partnership with other agencies, particularly the
Department of Labor, to coordinate the investigation and prosecution of
trafficking and other cases of exploitation.  The Task Force is training
our Nation's Federal law enforcement officials and has established a
hotline to report trafficking cases.

     The Act creates new felony criminal offenses to combat trafficking
with respect to slavery or peonage; sex trafficking in children; and
unlawful confiscation of the victim's passport or other documents in
furtherance of the trafficking scheme.  It also creates a new "forced
labor" felony criminal offense that will provide Federal prosecutors with
the tools needed to prosecute the sophisticated forms of nonphysical
coercion that


traffickers use today to exploit their victims.  Under H.R. 3244, any
person convicted of any of these new criminal offenses would be subject to
forfeiture of his or her assets and required to pay full restitution to his
or her victims.  These new offenses and the tougher sentences called for by
this legislation will assist Federal prosecutors in ensuring that
traffickers are convicted and appropriately punished for their crimes.

     The Act also authorizes essential services and protections for victims
of trafficking.  Within the United States, H.R. 3244 establishes a
Cabinet-level interagency task force to combat and monitor trafficking,
provides eligibility to trafficking victims for a broad range of Federal
benefits, and requires procedures to improve Federal law enforcement's
identification of traf-ficking cases and to provide for trafficking
victims' safety and assistance while in the Government's custody.  The Act
also authorizes the Attorney General to provide grants to develop programs
to assist victims of trafficking.  A cornerstone of H.R. 3244 is that it
makes trafficking victims eligible for a temporary nonimmigrant visa so
that they can remain in the United States to help law enforcement in the
prosecution of traffickers and receive needed protection and assistance.

     The Act establishes international initiatives to enhance economic
opportunity for potential victims and public awareness programs on the
dangers of trafficking and available protections for victims.  The Act
encourages other countries to take steps to implement protection and
assistance for trafficking victims and to prosecute traffickers, and
authorizes the President to assist countries to help them meet certain
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.  The President may
withhold assis-tance from countries that are not making significant efforts
to bring themselves into compliance with these minimum standards.
Traffickers can themselves be sanctioned.  H.R. 3244 also expands existing
reporting on the nature and extent of traf-ficking in each foreign country,
which will build upon the Department of State's current coverage of this

     Traffickers who prey on vulnerable women and children should have no
place to hide, and victims of trafficking must be treated with dignity and
afforded vital assistance and protection.  I expect this legislation to be
of immense benefit in rooting out this despicable practice and in helping
future Administrations carry on the vital work that this Administration has

     The Act also contains new authorities to compensate American victims
of terrorism and their families.  I am pleased that the Congress and the
executive branch have been able to reach agreement on legislation that
reflects our shared goals:  providing compensation for the victims of
international terrorism and protecting the President's ability to act on
behalf of the Nation on important foreign policy and national security

     There are certain provisions worth noting.  First, those persons
electing to receive 110 percent of their awarded compensatory damages with
statutory interest and court-awarded sanctions relinquish all rights and
claims to all amounts awarded and will be deemed to be compensated in full
for their judgments.  Those persons electing to receive 100 percent of
their compen-satory damages with statutory interest and court-awarded
sanctions relinquish all rights and claims to compensatory damages and
amounts awarded as judicial sanctions, and, necessarily, any related
interest, costs and attorneys fees.  So as not to interfere with important
national interests, H.R. 3244 makes clear that persons who receive such
payments are prohibited from attaching or executing against certain types
of property in order to satisfy other amounts awarded.



     Second, Congress has reaffirmed in this Act my statutory authority,
which is the authority provided under the Trading with the Enemy Act (50
U.S.C. App. 5(b)), where appropriate and consistent with the national
interest, to vest foreign assets located in the United States for the
purpose, among other things, of assisting, and where appropriate, making
payments to victims of terrorism.

     Third, H.R. 3244 repeals the Presidential national security waiver,
provided by section 117 of the Treasury and General Government
Appropriations Act, 1999, which was applicable to the requirements of
subsections (a) and (b).  Section 117(b), which amended the Foreign
Sovereign Immunities Act to permit awards of punitive damages against
certain defendants in certain circumstances, as well as section 117(a),
have never been operative because I executed the national security waiver
on October 21, 1998.  In its place, H.R. 3244 provides a national security
waiver applicable to section 1610(f)(1) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities
Act, and addresses the other national security concerns covered by my
earlier waiver by repealing section 117(b) of the Treasury and General
Government Appropriations Act, 1999, and modifying section 1610(f)(2) of
the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Upon my signing of H.R. 3244, I am
exercising the discretion given to me by section 2002(f) of this Act to
waive section 1610(f)(1) of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

     Fourth, H.R. 3244 makes the United States fully subrogated to the
rights of the persons who receive payments under this Act,
to the extent of the payments.  The Congress reaffirms my authority to
pursue these subrogated rights as claims or offsets against Iran in
appropriate ways, including negotiations leading to any normalization
process.  In addition, no funds are permitted to be paid to Iran, or
released to Iran, from property blocked under the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act or the Foreign Military Sales Fund, until such claims
have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the United States.  The
determination that the claims have been dealt with to the satisfaction of
the United States will be subject to Presidential discretion.

     This legislation is a measure of the United States Government's
commitment to the victims of terrorism, to deter future acts of terrorism,
and to defend the United States from its evils.  It is not designed to
preclude any other means to this end.  The United States will continue to
pursue an aggressive, comprehensive policy incorporating diplomacy, law
enforcement, intelligence, and other means to protect its citizens.

     In conclusion, I would like to recognize and congratulate the
bipartisan sponsorship of, and support for, the "Victims of Trafficking and
Violence Prevention Act of 2000."  Its enactment is an achievement of which
all involved may be justly proud.  It will serve us well in the years ahead
as we continue to do what is needed to detect and eradicate trafficking in
persons, violence against women, and other reprehensible forms of criminal

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

    October 28, 2000.

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