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Senate Passes Act to Protect Sex Trafficking Victims

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 passed the Senate last week with a unanimous vote, and all signs point to its passage in the House as well. The bill, backed by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), toughens current federal penalties against trafficking, and protects women’s and girls’ human rights by providing interim immigration relief, ending the former U.S. practice of immediately deporting trafficking victims. The bill’s supporters argue that this interim period would allow for time to bring charges against sex trade traffickers, ultimately aiding in abolishing the practice. Wellstone stated that 50,000 women are brought into the U.S. each year as sex slaves. Internationally, over 700,000 women and girls are forced into sexual slavery. The bill highlights the particular targeting of women and girls for human trafficking, and focuses on (but is not limited to) human rights violations in sex trafficking. It also recommends positive economic, social, and legal tactics to prevent the practice, including improving education for girls and women. The bill contains a definition of sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act,” and is supported by Equality Now and the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Sources:

Associated Press- July 27, 2000 and Equality Now