Anti-Prostitution Pledge

Are you aware that funding from the United States is given to NGOs (non-governmental organizations) around the world to fight HIV/AIDS? Are you also aware that they have to sign an anti-prostitution pledge to receive those funds? The pledge reads like this:

No funds…may be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.

It also restricts the use of those funds like this:

No funds…may be used to promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution or sex trafficking.

This means that the $48 billion dollars we give in fighting HIV/AIDS doesn’t go to make the lives of sex workers safer. CHANGE, the Center for Health and Gender Equity says this about the pledge:

…increasing condom use among sex workers requires direct engagement, training, demonstrations of correct use, training on negotiating with clients, and collective action among sex workers, all of which could potentially be considered under the policy as “promoting prostitution.”

According to a 2005 article in the Medical News Today, this ruling was supported by, among others, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Sex workers can be a powerful ally in preventing HIV/AIDS. They can advocate for safer sex, teach techniques and procedures to help prevent the transmission of the disease, and instead of blocking these resources from sex workers, should we be enlisting sex workers in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

Today, at the 2012 International AIDS Conference being held in DC, sex workers and their allies called for an end to this Anti-Prostitution Pledge.

More than two hundred organizations and individuals have signed on to a declaration demanding the U.S. repeal and eliminate restrictions on domestic and global AIDS funds, which currently prevent sex workers around the world from receiving life saving HIV services and medicines.

You can read the full declaration here and sign your support:

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