Illinois action blog

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Women's Health Advocates Praise Court Ruling on Harmful Sex Workers Policy

The United States cannot force partners in its international fight against AIDS to denounce prostitution as a condition to get funding, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in citing the First Amendment. The "anti-prostitution pledge policy" was a provision in the 2003 Leadership Act which required organizations that were receiving US funding to fight AIDS/HIV globally to adopt a specific organization-wide policy opposing prostitution.

Global health advocacy groups like the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) have criticized the law because it does nothing to advance its stated goals of defeating HIV/AIDS and the trafficking of persons.  According to CHANGE President, Serra Sippel, "the policy weakens the best HIV prevention efforts among sex workers, and exacerbates stigma and discrimination against already marginalized groups. Any anti-prostitution declaration by organizations working with persons in the sex sector undermines trust among the very people these organizations seek to assist, making it difficult or impossible to provide services or assistance to those at risk."

We commend the court's decision, and look forward to the day when these harmful policy requirements are removed for foreign organizations, as well as U.S. based organizations, and the marginalized populations they serve are given much-needed access to care.

To learn more about CHANGE and the details of the case, visit their site.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, Center for Health and Gender Equity, HIV/AIDS,

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