Anti Sex Trafficking Pledge Policy Ruling

The 28Feb07 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the U.S. government may enforce a policy that groups receiving certain federal grants to fight AIDS and human trafficking must declare that they will not promote prostitution. The government’s brief summarizes the case: “It would make little sense for the government to provide billions of dollars to encourage the reduction of HIV/AIDS behavioral risks, including prostitution and sex trafficking, and yet to engage as partners in this effort organizations that are neutral toward or even actively promote the same practices sought to be eradicated.” The CMA last year had authored a joint letter to President Bush, signed by over 100 women’s, health and policy organizations, and personally delivered to the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, urging him to protect victims of sexual trafficking by upholding the policy. “As healthcare professionals, we recognize the harm that prostitution inflicts on its victims,” noted CMA CEO David Stevens, M.D. “That harm is made even more horrific when a woman or child is prostituted and enslaved. We know from the research that prostitution spreads AIDS and accounts for much of human trafficking worldwide. “Incredible as it seems, there are groups out there that instead of rescuing these victims would employ a so-called ‘harm reduction’ approach of simply distributing condoms or advice. That’s totally inappropriate for sex slaves, most of whom are children and women. We totally support the government’s policy, which promotes an abolitionist approach that opposes prostitution as inherently harmful and degrading, and actively supports the rescue and restoration of sexually exploited individuals. “The groups that would refuse...