Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment

Melissa Ditmore’s latest on the anti-prostitution pledge at http://www.rhrealitycheck.org:

Anti-Prostitution Pledge Results in Discriminatory Treatment
Melissa Ditmore on October 9, 2008 – 8:00am
Recently on RH Reality Check, I examined the damaging effects on sex workers of a new law against prostitution in Cambodia. The perception on the ground is that the law was passed so that Cambodia could avoid sanctions associated with the US Traffic in Persons report.
This is not the first time that sex workers have been sacrificed at the altar of US funding. Anti-trafficking funding and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) deny funding to any organization that does not have an explicit policy against prostitution and sex trafficking. Outwardly, this seems innocuous, but the restriction has been used in ways that seriously undermine public health and anti-trafficking efforts in the developing world. Denying services to sex workers is counter-productive in both areas.
In addition, the terms of the restriction have been left ambiguous, allowing some self-appointed experts to act as “police” for the US government in watching aid recipients for alleged missteps. CHANGE released an updated policy brief detailing the ways in which sex workers have been adversely affected by this restriction.
These self-appointed enforcers have chosen to ignore the non-discrimination clause in the regulation that says that no one should be denied services because of the anti-prostitution pledge. In practice, application of the restriction is often highly discriminatory. Doctors in Cambodia used the restriction as grounds for denying information about HIV transmission to men who have sex with men (MSM). Male sex workers in Thailand have been evicted from the sole clinic in the nation dedicated to MSM. Drop-in centers for homeless sex workers in Bangladesh – the only places where some of these women had access to a toilet – have been closed.
Restrictions targeting sex work have not been the only counter-productive consequence of US policy. The abstinence earmark in PEPFAR, which requires one-third of prevention funds to go towards abstinence education, has significantly reduced condom availability in sub-Saharan Africa. In a bizarre twist, abstinence programs funded through PEPFAR in Uganda have even conducted public condom burnings. The percentage of Uganda’s population infected with HIV had previously been in sharp decline as a result of strong prevention programs, but that trend seems unlikely to continue now.
Taking the Pledge is a 13-minute video featuring interviews with people who have experienced discrimination and the loss of services and commodities because of US-imposed restrictions. These stories illustrate why sex workers and their advocates see little cause for celebration in recent increases in PEPFAR funding. Instead we worry that continued imposition of ideologically motivated restrictions will bring not benefits, but further discrimination against sex workers.
The next administration must act quickly repair PEPFAR and anti-trafficking funding policies in order to assist these vulnerable populations instead of promoting discrimination against them.


4 Responses

  1. If McCain and that whack-job from Alaska get into the White House, that is not likely to happen.

    I doubt that Sarah Palin or her entire family has ever seen a condom.

  2. But she can see Russia from her house

  3. LOL

    Seriously though. I am thinking of going to her website, looking up any snail-mail address on there and sending her some condoms, with instructions how to use them. Because the whole family has this nasty habit of getting knocked-up.

    Dead seriously, the election of McCain will just be four more years of the same of everything, maybe even worse.

  4. Prosecutor tells jury rapist killed 3 prostitutes for fun

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Published: Friday, August 8, 2008 at 3:45 a.m.
    Last Modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 at 8:36 a.m.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080808/NEWS/808080430

    STOCKTON — In closing arguments Thursday in the murder trial of a convicted rapist, a prosecutor characterized the deaths of three women as “joy killing.”

    Fifty-four-year-old William Jennings Choyce of Stockton faces the death penalty if convicted in San Joaquin County Superior Court of the three killings dating to 1988. The prosecutor said the women were shot, then left in sexual poses in secluded areas. The women, two from Stockton and one from Oakland, were prostitutes.

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