08 Jun

Closing the Pussycat Club for Good

In Israel operating a strip club is legal; running a brothel is not.
At the end of 2016, TFHT filed an administrative appeal against the Tel-Aviv Municipality, the city’s mayor, and the Israel Police asking the court to revoke the license of the Pussycat Club, and shut it down on strong suspicion that it was operating as a brothel.

One of Israel’s largest strip clubs, The Pussycat Club, located in Atarim Square, the heart of Tel-Aviv’s hotel tourist industry, is a gateway into the world of prostitution. TPC recruits young women from throughout Israel as strippers; many are then prostituted in the club’s “private” rooms. While other strip clubs, including those in Ramat Gan and Haifa, have been shut down owing to illegal activity, TPC has continued to operate in the open.

Owing to TFHT’s administrative appeal, the Israel Police and Tel-Aviv Municipality could no longer turn a blind eye. In a major development, the latter recently announced TPC’s license had been revoked, and the club’s owners’ request to renew it denied. TPC’s owners have since declared their intention to file another request.  The matter is currently pending.

פוסיקט ארדן

Despite the plethora of evidence proving TPC’s criminal operation as a brothel, the Israel Police did not object to renewal of the club’s license. While they have declared support of efforts to abolish prostitution, they have yet to form an opinion on the status of strip clubs. As it is the Israel Police’s responsibility to enforce the law, such inaction allows the continuation of the exploitation of women and the operation of the brothel. (Click here to read more on the revoking of the license).

This week, we ask you to write to MK Gilad Erdan, the Minister of Public Security, who supervises the Israel Police. Request he intensify law enforcement and pursue incrimination of the owners of TPC, a long-operating, illegal brothel.  We will further urge the Minister to enforce current legal provisions outlawing all strip clubs’ activities and revoking their licenses.

The letter that was sent:

Dear Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan,

I write to you as the Minister supervising Israel Police activity and policy to instruct the Israel Police to enforce current law, move against the country’s strip clubs and seek to revoke their licenses.

Due to the administrative appeal against the Tel-Aviv Municipality and Israel Police asking the court to revoke the license of The Pussycat Club and permanently close it, the police raided the club and found hard evidence of the club’s operation as a brothel. The Pussycat Club’s activity reveals a host of criminal offences, including pimping, pandering and severe sexual assault in a work place.

It is the Israel Police’s responsibility to confront that criminal activity and seek the revocation of licenses of strip clubs which serve as a portal to the world of prostitution for many young Israeli girls and women. The National Survey on Prostitution in Israel, conducted by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Security, clearly stated strip clubs are integral part of the sexual services “industry”.

The Israel Police have known for many years of the existence of brothels in disguise as strip clubs, but continue to fail to close them. Worse, in response to the appeal of The Pussycat Club, the police stated they will not object to the renewal of its license.

In the last year, you have worked diligently to abolish prostitution in Israel, supporting legislation to cut off phone lines advertising sexual services, and urging the Ministerial Committee to support criminalization of the printing of advertisements for sexual services.

I urge you, as a Minister who has demonstrated a willingness to confront the unacceptable reality of prostitution in Israel, to instruct the Israel Police to request the Pussycat Club’s license not be renewed! Furthermore, I ask you take a clear stand that brothels operating as “strip clubs” be shut down and banished from our society.