|en - EuroWRC|
to protect women passes U.S. Senate 95-0
The measure, approved 95-0, will be sent to President Clinton to be signed into law.
Overwhelmingly passed by the House last week, it reauthorizes the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and provides $3.3 billion over five years to to expand an infrastructure of shelters for battered women and children and to prosecute wife beaters aggressively.
The Clinton administration made renewal of the law a priority and has said that it resulted in a 21 percent drop in violence against women since it was first enacted.
The previous act expired Sept. 30, but the latest bill will reauthorize and expand the original legislation to provide more shelters for victims and give grants to cover battered women in college residences and those trapped in violent dating relationships as well as victims of stalking and sexual assault.
``It also provides full-faith-and-credit enforcement and computerized tracking of protection orders by prohibiting notification of a batterer without the victim's consent when an out-of-state order is registered in a new jurisdiction,'' said Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican who played a leading role in driving the legislation through the Senate.
The ``full faith and credit'' clause of the Constitution requires states to recognize most of the laws, public records and judicial decisions of other states.
95 MILLION APPROPRIATED
The sex-trafficking part of the legislation, co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, appropriates $95 million to combat the growing practice, which is fast becoming a top source of income for organized crime.
It provides punishment of up to life imprisonment for traffickers, makes assistance available for victims who wish to sue their captors, provides shelter and authorizes changes in immigration laws to allow relief from rapid deportation so human smuggling cases can be prosecuted.
Sex trafficking is believed to involve over 1 million women and young girls worldwide, an estimated 50,000 of whom are forced into prostitution or other forms of slave labor in the United States alone.
The broad legislation also contains a provision to make it easier for former hostages and other victims of terror to collect compensation from nations that sponsor such acts.
Supporters defeated an attempt by Republican Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee to kill a provision known as Aimee's law, that will force states to pay costs if a criminal is released from prison and goes on to commit a crime in another state.