Senate votes to add human trafficking measures to VAWA

“We continue to fight human trafficking, and human trafficking is nothing more than modern day slavery,” Leahy said Tuesday. “It is not just a policy matter it is a moral issue.”

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Republican Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeGOP senator pushes Trump to adopt 'constitutional agenda' Waterways bill eyed as solution for Flint No reason why women shouldn't be drafted MORE (Utah), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump hopes for boost from Brexit vote GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call Sessions warns of 'radical' Clinton immigration policy MORE (Ala.), James InhofeJames InhofeEPA proposes climate rule incentives despite court hold GOP chairman: EPA could ‘restructure every industrial sector’ GOP in disarray over Trump furor MORE (Okla.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonJuan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Vulnerable Republican seeks edge on homeland security Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA MORE (Wis.) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: I haven't seen 'self-discipline' from Trump McCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump MORE (Okla.) were the only senators to vote against Leahy's amendment.

Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanJuan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns MORE’s (R-Ohio) amendment would ensure that child victims of sex trafficking also have access to grants provided by VAWA, including educational services aimed to protect young victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalElizabeth Warren joins House Dems' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE (D-Conn.) co-sponsored that amendment, which passed on a 100-0 vote.

VAWA provides grants to victims of domestic violence in order to encourage victims to leave their abusive situations. Some feel they can’t get away from their abusers because they might not have another form of family income, so the grants can provide housing assistance and cellphones for victims. Under this reauthorization bill, S. 47, these programs would continue for another five years if the package receives enough votes for final passage, which is expected Tuesday afternoon.

The Senate is still considering three other amendments to the VAWA reauthorization bill. Descriptions of those follow:

— Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP senator praises Supreme Court's abortion ruling Kerry visits Arctic Circle to see climate impacts Senate panel clears EPA spending bill, blocking rules MORE’s (R-Alaska) amendment is a technical correction that would clarify that in Alaska, Native American tribal jurisdiction would be for the Metlakatla tribe, which is the only tribe with land in Alaska despite other tribes residing in the state.

— Coburn’s amendment would consolidate duplicative programs within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Coburn said his amendment would save at least $600 million that could be used to more quickly resolve rape cases by addressing the backlog of rape kit testing.

— Coburn’s amendment would encourage states to test convicted rapists for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) so that victims know if they need to seek treatment. If states refused to make such an adjustment to their laws, they would receive 20 percent less in VAWA grants. The amendment would also help provide the necessary treatment to the victims if they were at risk of infection.

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