06 Jul

Even if we ignore it, prostitution exists, and this is how it sounds

One of the least discussed issues regarding prostitution is the role of the consumer, the client (or john) who drives the entire “industry”, creating demand for prostitution.

Prostituted people report that johns come from diverse socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.  Most are in committed relationships, or married, with families.The recently published National Survey on Prostitution in Israel conducted by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Security revealed that men purchase sex one million times each year, paying over one and one-quarter billionIsrael shekels for such services.

Disappointingly, however, the survey contained only limited research into the primary driving factor – consumption. It is unfortunate that government authorities have yet to acknowledge the critical role of clients in the enduring phenomenon of enslaving others in prostitution.

It is time for Israel society to raise the curtain on those who purchase prostitution, to bring to attention their responsibility in perpetrating the systematized violent exploitation of thousands of people, the majority girls and women. We must call out the client, who, together with pimps and traffickers, sustains the vicious cycle of prostitution.

“When you sit discreetly in front of your computer, when no one knows who you are, it sanitizes your experience. You need not confront a living person, enabling you to act and talk violently.”(Yaela Lahav-Raz, from Haaretz article in Hebrew)

Insidiously, clients have also created a parallel reality on websites, “sharing” experiences of their visits, thus perpetrating the abuse and degradation of others in pursuit of satisfaction of their fantasies of power and sex.

To confront this, TFHT recently partnered wito NGO Toda’a and the Facebook page “When He Pays”  that publishes testimonies of prostituted women. A group of students from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design helped us develop a bold video campaign to uncover the phenomenon of men who post “prostitute reviews”.

The piece features male volunteers as they read actual appraisals on forums from “Awesome Sex” website. In less than 24 hours the campaign has received a tremendous exposure; so far over 11,000 people have viewed it.

Though it may be difficult to watch and listen to, even if we ignore it, prostitution exists and this is how it sounds.

Please help TFHT fight the commercial exploitation of girls and women through prostitution! Sign our petition in support of criminalization of consumption of prostitution.  We invite you to share the video with others. You can find more videos on TFHT’s YouTube channel