H.R. 2699

Peace Corps Volunteer Service Improvement Act of 2011

This legislation is designed to protect Peace Corps volunteers serving in potentially dangerous locations overseas by mandating broad changes in the way Peace Corps handles crimes against volunteers, and requiring that safety be a determining factor in the selection of countries where volunteers will serve. 

Throughout the 50-year history of the Peace Corps, more than 200,000 Americans have answered the call to serve. Today, there are 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 77 countries. 

Through hearings, witness testimony, oversight investigations, affidavits from former volunteers, and media reports, the Committee gathered deeply troubling information regarding the Peace Corps’ response to crimes committed against Peace Corps volunteers.  Crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and murder perpetrated against volunteers have been egregiously mishandled.   This legislation will ensure that Peace Corps volunteers have the resources they need in a time of crisis.

Among other requirements, this legislation mandates that Peace Corps formalize its relationship with the Department of State’s Regional Security Officers who are in the best position to work with foreign law enforcement officials in responding to crimes against volunteers overseas.  This requirement will prevent recurrence of instances where victims of violent crimes were largely left to navigate the legal system of a foreign country on their own.  The bill also requires the Peace Corps to study and report on crime in participating countries and to consider safety and security in determining to which countries the Peace Corps deploys volunteers.

STATUS: H.R. 2699 became part of S. 1280, which passed the House on November 1, 2011.  The bill was signed into law on November 21, 2011 as the "Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011.”


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

More information on H.R. 2699 at the Library of Congress »