17 Jul

Keeping Up with the Times: Combating Prostitution on the Internet

According to the national survey on prostitution, conducted by the Ministries of Social Services and Public Security, the virtual world has become a significant platform for the recruitment, advertisement, operation and sale of sexual services and prostitution. The survey found that in 2014 there were about 670 active Israeli “sex websites.”

Examination of these websites exposes an entire virtual industry with thousands of advertisements of sexual nature. They include many that clearly violate the law against prostitution-related offenses (such as pimping and advertising the sale of sexual services), feature erotic pictures of minors and solicitation ads for prostitution, and offer sexual services that are provided online.

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With the swipe of a finger, today’s youth can have instant access to the world of prostitution through smartphone applications, social networks and websites. For youth at risk of entering prostitution this exposure can have dangerous consequences, as virtual solicitation to prostitution can quickly turn into a real-life encounter.

On the Internet, prostitution is presented in a sterile and glamorous light — while in reality, the psychological damage, exploitation and humiliation it brings is anything but.

Although unwarranted online exposure to prostitution is a well-known phenomenon among youth, authorities and legislators struggle to keep up with the pace of changing technology and to adapt their law enforcement strategies to it.

Within the framework of the TFHT’s Project 119, volunteers will write to Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan this week to ask that he act to end the advertisement and solicitation to prostitution on the Internet. You can find the text of the email in the link below.

Letter to MK Gilad Erdan – Prostitution on the Internet