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US Senate Passes Human Trafficking Bill


FILE - The U.S. Capitol building, currently under renovation, is seen in Washington April 11, 2015.

FILE - The U.S. Capitol building, currently under renovation, is seen in Washington April 11, 2015.

The U.S. Senate Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to help victims of human trafficking -- a move that will finally open the door to a vote to confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

The Senate passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act 99 to 0. It would impose large fines on people convicted of trafficking and sex crimes against children. The money would be used to help the victims recover.

Texas Republican John Cornyn is the bill's leading sponsor. "We have not fallen deaf to the cries of those who actually need our help... this legislation will be instrumental in helping victims of sexual abuse and trafficking recover from a life in bondage."

The bill had been stalled over anti-abortion language that Democrats did not like. The abortion provision was stripped from the bill after a compromise.

Senate Republicans had been refusing to allow a confirmation vote on President Barack Obama's choice for the next attorney general, Loretta Lynch, until the trafficking bill was passed.

Obama nominated Lynch in November to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.

A vote on Lynch is now scheduled for Thursday. She is expected to have enough votes to win confirmation.

The House of Representatives already passed a human trafficking bill. House and Senate negotiators will now work on putting together a final bill that the president can sign.

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