April 22, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will hear a case, AOSI v. USAID, that "will decide the fate of the anti-prostitution pledge," a law barring funding for groups that work on HIV/AIDS prevention but do not have a policy opposing prostitution and sex trafficking, Chi Mgbako, a clinical associate professor of law and founding director of the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham University School of Law, writes in The Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog." She continues, "The court should overturn this ideologically driven policy, which is rooted in misguided moralism over sex work and not in effective HIV and AIDS intervention." According to Mgbako, "Ideologically inspired rules and restrictions should not trump tried and tested public health practices. In the fight against HIV and AIDS, public health organizations should take a non-judgmental approach to sex work and reject stigmatization of sex workers." She concludes, "Although the Supreme Court case will hinge on the pledge's free speech implications, the court should also overturn it because ideologically engineered policies must not usurp sound health measures in the struggle against HIV and AIDS" (4/22).