Wall Street Journal (08.12.05) - Friday, August 12, 2005
DKT International recently filed suit in a Washington, D.C.,
federal court against the US Agency for International
Development and its administrator, Andrew Natsios, for
rejecting the group's AIDS grant application because it
refused to sign an antiprostitution pledge. Requiring a pledge
to the Bush administration's "political viewpoint on
prostitution" violates DKT's First Amendment free-speech
rights, the nonprofit Washington-based charity claimed.
DKT specializes in using social marketing to support AIDS
prevention services, including to prostitutes, and sold 390
million subsidized condoms last year in 11 countries. The case
involves projects in Vietnam, where DKT has worked on AIDS
efforts with USAID and other donor support for 12 years.
In June, according to its court filing, DKT asked the USAID
contractor Family Health International for a $60,000 subgrant
to promote condom lubricants to help reduce breakage. FHI
originally approved the grant but later withdrew its support
after DKT's representative in Vietnam refused to certify "that
it has a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex
trafficking," the suit noted.
DKT asked the judge to bar USAID from denying it federal
grants pending a ruling in the suit. "The government cannot
tell us what policies to have," said DKT founder Philip
According to USAID spokesperson Heather Layman, "it's the
official policy of the US government to oppose prostitution
and sex trafficking as dehumanizing and degrading." However,
"there's nothing in US law that prohibits the [United States]
or any of our partners from providing services to high-risk
populations, including women in prostitution," Layman said.