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United States: U.S. Backs Down on Prostitution Pledge

In coalition with other human rights, public health, faith and community-based organizations, Human Rights Watch successfully challenged U.S. policies that impede effective HIV/AIDS work with men and women in prostitution. United States law requires that foreign organizations receiving HIV/AIDS funds must adopt policies explicitly opposing prostitution. A new policy would have required even multinational organizations (including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and U.N. agencies) to comply with this requirement. While none of the groups promote prostitution, by directly condemning prostitution they would further alienate and stigmatize sex workers and thwart an effective response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. After intense pressure from an international coalition of organizations to withdraw the stipulation, the U.S. rescinded the policy. Human Rights Watch has worked to combat discrimination and violence against high-risk populations-including sex workers in Bangladesh, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, and Togo. Such mistreatment fuels the spread of HIV/AIDS. Read more about this work.

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