Policy & Politics
Tobias Rescinds Document Requiring Groups Receiving Money Through Global Fund to Oppose Commercial Sex Work
May 18, 2005
U.S. Ambassador Randall Tobias, head of the State Department's Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, has rescinded a CDC document issued last week that would have required not-for-profit groups receiving money through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to publicly state their opposition to commercial sex work and sex trafficking, according to an HHS spokesperson, the Washington Post reports (Brown, Washington Post, 5/18). Under the Bush administration's policy -- which stems from two 2003 laws involving HIV/AIDS funding and sex trafficking -- both overseas and U.S. HIV/AIDS organizations have to make a written pledge opposing commercial sex work or risk losing federal HIV/AIDS funding, even if the groups' work does not involve commercial sex workers. The Department of Justice initially told the administration that the requirement should be applied to overseas groups only because of constitutional free speech concerns in applying it to U.S. organizations, but DOJ in 2004 reversed itself and said that the administration could apply the rule to U.S. groups (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/28). Although multilateral organizations, including the Global Fund and U.N. agencies, are exempt from the requirement, the CDC document would have required the approximately 3,000 groups in 128 countries that receive Global Fund money to publicly oppose commercial sex work and sex trafficking. However, HHS spokesperson Kevin Keane said the document "hadn't been fully reviewed and cleared" and that Tobias ordered the document be removed. "Somebody is ahead of their headlights," Tobias said on Sunday, adding that the policy outlined in the CDC document "is not one I have seen and considered," nor is it "something that I would want to sign off on one way or another."
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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