U.S. Requirement That AIDS Groups Sign Pledge Against Sex Work, Trafficking is ‘Manipulative,’ Dangerous, Editorial Says
Although U.S. citizens "should be proud the United States is a world leader in funding programs to fight the global plague of AIDS, ... they should be embarrassed the United States is now requiring groups receiving those dollars to pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking," a Des Moines Register editorial says (Des Moines Register, 7/13). The Bush administration last month officially notified U.S. organizations providing HIV/AIDS-related services in other countries that they must sign a pledge opposing commercial sex work and sex trafficking to be considered for federal funding. The policy stems from two 2003 laws, including an amendment to legislation (HR 1298) authorizing the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that prohibits funds from going to any group or organization that does not have a policy "explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/10). While the pledge "does nothing" to curb the spread of HIV, it could alienate commercial sex workers, with whom some of the groups work, and jeopardize these women's "only source of health care," according to the editorial. "Making a group sign a form promising to oppose certain behaviors is manipulative at best," the editorial says, adding, "At worst, it endangers lives" (Des Moines Register, 7/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.