Oh brother. :rolleyes:
There doesn’t seem to be much information on what exact change was made. Even the lengthy National Catholic Register article skirts the matter. Apparently, it has to do with a provision in PEPFAR, the major US funding program to fight HIV/AIDS. That program had a provisions which said: “no funds made available to carry out this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, may be used to provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.”
This “Prostitution Loyalty Oath” has been widely criticized by non-governmental organizations involved in fighting HIV because, guess what, many of the people affected by HIV in Africa and Asia are prostitutes. The provision has deterred many groups and even countries from accepting money under this program for fear that it will interfere in their outreach to prostitutes, leaving them vulnerable to a very nasty, and fatal, disease.
Now, exactly how that PEPFAR rule has been relaxed is not clear. The NCR article doesn’t say, nor does Rep. Smith’s statement. Instead, there is a lot of vague and overblown rumblings about the dangers of human trafficking and prostitution. Rep. Smith even goes so far as to say wacky things like anti-HIV organizations will coach pimps and brothel owners on ways to find legal cover.
To be sure, human trafficking is a major evil and rightly an important concern for the US government. But the articles cited do not offer any reason to think that the changes in the PEPFAR language (whatever changes those might be) will be promoting human trafficking. If there is good reason to think that human trafficking will increase because of the change in the PEPFAR language, it should be discussed. But the articles cited do not provide that discussion.