Nonprofit Sues US Government for Basing Grants on Opposition to Prostitution
DKT International, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent HIV/AIDS worldwide, has sued the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for its retraction of a grant when DKT refused to sign a pledge opposing sex work. In June, DKT applied for a $60,000 subgrant to market condom lubricants in Vietnam. The grant was initially approved, but rescinded when DKT refused to sign the pledge.
DKT alleges that the policy violates its First Amendment right to free speech. Founder Philip Harvey told the Wall Street Journal "The government cannot tell us what policies to have." Jodi Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, submitted a statement in support of the lawsuit, pointing out the dilemma health groups face in being forced to condemn sex work to receive US funding, while also attempting to gain the trust of prostitutes and clients in order to build effective HIV prevention programs. “These policies run contrary to best practices in public health and will undermine efforts to stem the spread of HIV and human trafficking,” she wrote. DKT has asked the court to prevent USAID’s withdrawal of funds, pending a ruling in the case.
This suit is the latest battle over the strings attached to US foreign aid. In May, Brazil declined $40 million in aid rather than sign the anti-prostitution pledge.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News 5/6/05; Kaiser Network 8/12/05; Wall Street Journal 8/12/05; CHANGE statement 8/9/05
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .
8/25/2015 Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage - Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms.
The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action. . . .