Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obama administration to ignore human trafficking

First the Obama administration backed off on prosecuting pornography and drug use, and now it's hoping to ease restrictions on international sex trafficking. With barely a peep from the press, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is trying to overturn a key policy of PEPFAR-the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Under this new rule, the countries that receive HIV/AIDS dollars under PEPFAR would no longer have to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking-which was a condition of the funding under President Bush.
Since 2003, PEPFAR has been one of the most successful initiatives launched by the U.S. government to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. It was initially passed in 2003 with the anti-sex trafficking provision, and both were reauthorized last year. Every time this program comes before Congress, anti-prostitution organizations, including FRC, have fought to ensure that your taxpayer dollars wouldn't flow to organizations that promote the trafficking of human beings.

Apparently, the Obama administration thinks our position is too restrictive. Instead of protecting the most vulnerable, this President is trying to relax the rules for groups that exploit women and children! Not only is prostitution associated with several health, emotional, and physical risks, but it's also one of the leading causes of HIV/AIDS in these regions. Some reports estimate that close to 70% of prostitutes in certain areas are infected with this disease. Of course, this begs the question: Why would we fund the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa if our own policy is promoting it?

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