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 The grant was initially approved, but rescinded when DKT refused to sign the pledge.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
The following is a statement by our Founder and President, Eleanor Smeal, on the events in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Feminist Majority Foundation calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to conduct a thorough, unbiased investigation into the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.
The killing of Michael Brown and the blundered, militarized response by law enforcement to the call for justice is a tragic reminder that in many African American communities across the nation, the police themselves can be a threat.
Given the distrust of the police by the local African American community, the close ties between the St. . . .