The Pledge Requirement: U.S. Anti-Prostitution Policy and the Public Health Context for People-in-Prostitution

Khan, Taimur; Iyer, Devika

The human immunodefi ciency virus, which causes the acquired immunodefi ciency syndrome (HIV and AIDS), is a pandemic that militates against public health policy and practice on a global scale. The sex industry is frequently cited as one of the growth factors contributing to increased HIV and AIDS transmission, as well as the spread of sexually transmitted infections across international lines. Therefore, the prevention of HIV and AIDS among commercial sex workers is a major goal of the public health operations of both U.S. and foreign-based organizations working in the sex sector. As it stands, current U.S. laws and policies that dictate the funding of organizations working with sex workers are deleterious to public health and run counter to best practices that prevent the global spread of HIV and AIDS, as well as human rights norms. This article is centrally concerned with the public health implications of the Anti-Prostitution Pledge, which requires foreign NGOs and U.S.-based NGOs working abroad to explicitly oppose the practice of prostitution in order to receive U.S. federal funding for HIV and AIDS prevention among commercial sex workers. Policy prescriptions concerning the public health dimensions of commercial sex work will be offered based on the analysis.


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Columbia Social Work Review

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August 18, 2022