Statement by the President: The Passage of VAWA (10/11/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Chappaqua, New York)
For Immediate Release
October 11, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     I congratulate the Congress on its bipartisan work to pass the Victims
of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which contains
legislation to combat trafficking in persons, especially women and
children, as well as legislation to strengthen and reauthorize the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA).  These initiatives have been important priorities
of my Administration and I look forward to signing this bill into law.

     My Administration strongly supports this comprehensive
anti-trafficking legislation as part of our vigorous campaign to combat
trafficking in persons, a modern day form of slavery, and to punish the
international criminal organizations that engage in it.  Trafficking is one
of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world, ensnaring up to 2
million additional victims around the world each year, including 50,000
annually here in the United States.  On March 11, 1998, I issued an
Executive Memorandum directing my Administration to combat this insidious
human rights abuse through a three-part strategy of prosecuting
traffickers, providing protection and assistance for trafficking victims,
and preventing future trafficking.  This strategy has established the
framework for our work in this country and abroad.  The legislation
approved by Congress today will strengthen this approach, providing new
tools to protect trafficking victims and punish traffickers.  It will
institutionalize our government's response, laying the groundwork for
future administrations to carry this important work forward, and will
ensure that trafficking of persons assumes the prominent place on the
world's agenda that it deserves until we put an end to this horrible

     I signed VAWA into law as part of my crime bill in 1994, and during
the last six years, VAWA has made a crucial difference in the lives of
hundreds of thousands of women and children.  The Violence Against Women
Act has enabled communities to expand prevention efforts, enhance the
safety of more victims, and hold perpetrators of violence against women
accountable for their acts.  But more needs to be done.  From 1993 through
1998, on average, 22 percent of all female victims of violence were
attacked by an intimate partner.  The legislation approved by the Senate
today will do more to help these women by reauthorizing critical VAWA grant
programs; providing important protections for battered immigrant women;
reauthorizing the domestic violence hotline, and helping state and tribal
courts improve interstate enforcement of protection orders.  It is
especially fitting that Congress passed this crucial legislation in the
month designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


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