Having the rug pulled from under your feet: one project's experience of the US policy reversal on sex work


After the election of President George W Bush in 2000, US government policy toward sexual and reproductive health changed dramatically. In May 2003, the Global AIDS Act was passed and prohibits allocation of US government funds to organizations that 'promote or advocate' legalization and practice of prostitution and sex trafficking. There are few documented examples of early impacts of this policy reversal on USAID-funded programmes already working with sex worker communities. This paper offers an anecdotal account of one programme in Cambodia that found itself caught in the ideological cross-fire of US politics, and describes consequent negative effects on the project's ability to offer appropriate and effective HIV prevention services to vulnerable migrant sex workers.


Health Policy and Planning 2006; 21(4): 329-332[doi:10.1093/heapol/czl016]

Published 1 January 2006