U.S. Taxpayers Funding Global Prostitution?

prostitutionIn an attempt to augment on-going gender equality efforts and promote the empowerment of women and girls worldwide, President Obama implemented his go to stratagem for fighting the world’s problems – he’s organizing it.

On January 30, 2013, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum advancing the rights of women and girls.  The President signed this directive “to promote government wide coordination and new action across agencies from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to Peace Corps to the Department of Health and Human Services.”  The Presidential Memorandum mandates more government efforts and coordination to “promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls globally.”

This is apparently to be achieved through the organization of agency redundancy and collaboration with disreputable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that sponsor multi-initiative approaches to sex industry regulation, decriminalization and enhancement of sex worker conditions, essentially unionizing the global sex trade at taxpayer expense.

Regulating the sex trade industry has been attempted before.  Prior to the then upcoming 2010 World Cup, efforts to decriminalize sex workers were ramped up in anticipation of the onslaught of sexual tourists with a “World Cup Readiness” campaign, which equated to prophylactic training and a country code of conduct (which only the country of Kenya agreed to sign).

When following the money trail, some disturbing partnerships and initiatives are uncovered.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which works in collaboration with the independent foreign aid agency the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to provide “smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results,” has some redistribution problems.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation, which gets their funding directly from a Presidential request for Congressional Budget Justification, partners with non-governmental organizations such as the Alliance for Open Society International to administer and disperse funds from Millennium Challenge Accounts (MCAs) to eligible countries.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation, “guided by a commitment to good governance, country ownership, transparency, and results…continues to prudently manage budget resources to ensure the best possible return on investment for the American taxpayers and help poor countries achieve long-term economic growth” has on its board Senior Advisor, Morton H. Halperin, from the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Policy Center, an organization notorious for funding sex worker regulation and decriminalization initiatives.

At present, the Alliance for Open Society International is among six other U.S. based plaintiffs embroiled in the Supreme Court case AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL.  At the center of the case is an anti-prostitution provision that NGO recipients must adhere to in order to receive federal funds.  The plaintiffs charge that enacting an anti-prostitution policy infringes upon their First Amendment rights.

The other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) plaintiffs in the case include Open Society Institute, Pathfinder International, Global Health Council, AIDS Action, InterAction and the Brennan Center for Justice.

The plaintiffs argue that the anti-prostitution provision “infringes upon the NGOs freedom of speech” claiming that freedom of speech is at the very heart of civil society organizations and their independence from government.

According to InterAction’s President, Samuel A. Worthington, “One small provision in the bill has caused a rather large headache for U.S. NGOs.”  Worthington further states, “The anti-prostitution requirement goes far beyond simply stating how government money should be spent, and actually forces NGOs to promote the government’s view on a certain issue in their privately funded programs, speech and activities.”

Among the more notable recipients are the Alliance for Open Society International’s grantees the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) who receive funds to organize its sex worker community and provide male, female and transgender sex workers with legal information and advice.

SWEAT, in partnership with the Women’s Legal Centre, conduct topical seminars such as In Bed with Religion whose initiative is to help sex workers reconcile “their faith with their profession” and expose sex workers to “the dominant Islamic point of view on sex work and its nuanced/contradicting expressions” along with supporting sex workers “in their line of duty” by offering participation in their blog forum, Voices, where sex workers “can reflect on their work.”

“My favorite part is motivating and helping sex workers to contest their fines for something that we believe it is work—not crime,” said Ncumisa, a Women’s Legal Centre paralegal.

Plaintiffs in this case have a long history of collaborating with other non-governmental organizations in an effort to decriminalize and regulate the sex trade.

In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act (“Leadership Act“), which includes the anti-prostitution provision.  The “Leadership Act” was created to combat HIV/AIDS and stop the global spread of infectious diseases.  Since its inception, $44 billion has been spent on testing, treatment and counseling for those infected by HIV/AIDS.  In recent years the intent of the Act has been bastardized by dubious NGOs who have hijacked the “Leadership Act” by making it a charter for social justice as defined as grassroots activism to organize sex worker initiatives.

The U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit Court has ruled the anti-prostitution provision unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment rights of the U.S. based plaintiffs.

The U.S. Supreme Court is now reviewing the Second Court of Appeals ruling on the AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT v. ALLIANCE FOR OPEN SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL case and will determine the constitutionality of the anti-prostitution pledge and rule on its broader implications of whether organizations based outside of the U.S. must adhere to the “Leadership Act“ provision.

The altruistic cry for social justice, gender equality and empowerment take new meaning when it is discovered that those dispersing the federal funds support sex worker activism.  These altruistic intentions and directives boil down to the unionization and regulation of sexual depravity.  In the minds of moral relativists, the status of sex workers is elevated and the human condition triumphs as sex work is absolved through unionization.

With unionization, decriminalization and regulation there are no more victims, no more perps.  A Presidential Memorandum signed.  Problem solved.

No remedy is offered for systematically impoverished nations other than throwing billions at it.  Despots continue to line their pockets as sex workers continue to give birth to children whose only opportunity for survival is to sell their bodies for sex, learn the drug trade, gain a career as a corrupt government official or become a sex trade community organizer and we’re paying for it.

Leslie Deinhammer

Illinois PolitiChick Leslie Anne Deinhammer, writer, chaplain and proud wife of a Marine Corps veteran, writes on topics of politics, human rights and faith. Follow her at @lesliedhammer on Twitter.

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