17 Jun

In Israel’s Prostitution Industry, the Women Supervisors Get Exploited Too

Non-sex work at a brothel is still selling sex. Plus there’s the danger of a violent customer, while male managers make the big money. If only Israel’s courts understood.

Vered Lee,  Jun 17, 2016,  Ha’aretz

Over the course of a year, Meital, a 35-year-old single mother, ran a brothel – a “small and solid” place, she says. “I rented a simple furnished apartment in a poor, neglected and crumbling building. I published an ad and employed a woman as a prostitute. I started with one and moved on to two as things developed,” says Meital – all the women’s names have been changed for this story. “The place was open from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M., when I would answer the phone from my other job, and when there wasn’t any interest in the morning, the place was open in the evening.”

Continue Reading In Israel’s Prostitution Industry, the Women Supervisors Get Exploited Too

09 Jun

One brothel closed, what about the rest?

On May 30th, Judge Itai Hermelin of the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court ruled that the brothel at 36 Yitzhak Sadeh Street must be closed for 90 days. At the same time, the judge stated that in the future brothels run by women – as opposed to men – should not be targeted.

The Yitzhak Sadeh brothel is a well-known and especially large operation and we welcome its closing as a part of a trend of greater law enforcement against commercial sex establishments in Tel Aviv and the rest of the country. However, we must also recognize that the ruling exposes the failure of our current laws to provide a comprehensive solution to prostitution in Israel. By concentrating only on related offenses (such as pimping and owning a brothel), our laws attempt to tackle the issue without addressing the two main players – the women trapped in the cycle of prostitution and the customers who continue to fuel the demand for the “industry.”

The ruling puts Israel on a dangerous path towards legalization by providing the conditions under which the operation of a brothel may be legal. Allowing women to operate brothels does not empower or improve the conditions of women in prostitution. It only helps further entrench in our society the acceptability of purchasing sexual services and ensures institutional support for the exploitation of women in the sex industry. Furthermore, it supplies pimps and human traffickers with the know-how to mask their operations as legitimate businesses – for example, by instructing the prostituted women to claim ownership of and support for the business when questioned by police.

We must stop this dangerous trend toward legalization of prostitution in Israel. The time has come for Israel to reform its prostitution laws and adopt the Nordic Model. We call on the Israeli Knesset members to join the Coalition Against Prostitution’s demand to criminalize the purchase of sexual services and provide aid to those trapped in prostitution.

פילוח זירות זנות בישראל

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08 Jun

The Coalition Against Prostitution Statement Regarding the Closing of the Brothel at Yitzhak Sadeh 36, Tel Aviv

The Coalition Against Prostitution
Statement Regarding the Closing of the Brothel at Yitzhak Sadeh 36, Tel Aviv

On Monday, May 30th a verdict was finally given regarding the brothel on 36 Yitzhak Sadeh Street, Tel Aviv. His Honor Judge Hermelin’s ruling is an excellent example of the anomaly that exists in Israel’s current prostitution laws. In a feat of legal gymnastics, the judge arrived at the only possible conclusion of the proceedings, a 90-day shut-down of the brothel (the maximum amount of time allowed by law).

Continue Reading The Coalition Against Prostitution Statement Regarding the Closing of the Brothel at Yitzhak Sadeh 36, Tel Aviv

02 May

In anti-prostitution battle, Israel takes a trick out of Europe’s book

Justice Ministry to mull the popular ‘Nordic model’ of criminalizing the frequenting of sex workers, but Israelis aren’t sold on the idea

MARISSA NEWMAN, May 2, 2016, THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

You may glimpse them lingering, all decked out at Tel Aviv’s decrepit old bus station, loitering around the train station in Beersheba or soliciting customers on Haifa’s coastline. But apart from the occasional headline (such as when a long-time prostitute hanged herself in a Tel Aviv brothel), tucked away in so-called “discreet apartments,” Israel’s some 12,000 sex workers in the NIS 1.2 billion ($318 million) industry are largely invisible to many Israelis.

But the issue may soon head to the Knesset: The Justice Ministry announced last week it will form a committee to evaluate whether to criminalize paying for sex, broadly modeling itself on such countries as Sweden, Norway, and, as of earlier this month, France. The director-general of the Justice Ministry, Amy Palmer, will head the committee, and representatives from other ministries will be on it as well but have not yet been appointed, according to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s spokesperson.

Continue Reading In anti-prostitution battle, Israel takes a trick out of Europe’s book

26 Apr

NGO Report: Israel Fails to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

Government agencies aren’t cooperating enough and more sex workers are arriving from Eastern Europe than before, the report by Hotline for Refugees and Migrants says

Ilan Lior  Apr 26, 2016, HA’ARETZ

Human rights organizations are identifying far more victims of human trafficking than the state, a rights group says in a new report. According to the report, prepared by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, about 80 percent of trafficking victims from the asylum-seeker community were identified last year by human rights organizations rather than state agencies. The Hotline itself identified 28 African asylum seekers as trafficking victims who had suffered torture in the Sinai Peninsula en route to Israel. At the organization’s urging, the state recognized 19 of them as trafficking victims, and four were released from Saharonim Prison.

The report adds that last year saw a rise in the number of women who came to Israel on tourist visas from Eastern Europe and were put to work in the sex industry. It says 11 such women, after being arrested on suspicion of engaging in prostitution, were deported by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority without any coordination with the police or examination of the circumstances that brought them to Israel. Even though the administrative tribunals that deal with such cases have harshly criticized this lack of coordination, there have been no signs of any improvement, the report says.

Over the past decade, Israel worked hard to improve its handling of human trafficking in order to earn a Tier-1 ranking on the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, Hotline says. And as long as Israel was trying to improve its ranking, state agencies were careful to coordinate in an effort to end human trafficking. But in recent years, cooperation between the population authority and the police has deteriorated, the report says.
As a result, women arrested for prostitution are sometimes deported even before police have questioned them to find out whether they were trafficking victims, making it impossible for the police to find the traffickers.

Continue Reading NGO Report: Israel Fails to Crack Down on Human Trafficking

17 Apr

THFT Director Michal Leibel in the Knesset

Michal_Leibel_pic-237x300Every day, THFT Director Michal Leibel can be found in the halls of the Knesset and offices of government ministers and MKs in an effort to secure cross-party support of TFHT authored Nordic Model legislation. Last August, she added one more task to her already busy agenda.

For four months Michal made a weekly four-hour round-trip bus ride between Jerusalem and Haifa to facilitate an unusual discussion group in collaboration with Ofek Nashi (Women’s Horizons), a program that provides support and shelter for women who have left, or are in the process of escaping prostitution. An initiative of the Municipality of Haifa and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, Ofek Nashi seeks to rebuild the lives of women who, as a result of being prostituted, have suffered substance abuse; mental, sexual, and physical violence; and family, health and legal problems. Over the course of one year, participants receive individual counseling, take part in group therapy, undergo job training, and meet women leaders in an effort to prepare themselves for independent life off the streets.

Continue Reading THFT Director Michal Leibel in the Knesset

13 Apr

It’s Israel’s Turn to Adopt the Nordic Model

On April 6, the French Parliament voted 64 to 12 to pass the Nordic Model to criminalize the purchase of sexual services, while offering aid and rehabilitation programs to victims of prostitution. According to the new French law, offenders will face a fine of €1,500 for a first offense and €3,750 for repeated offenses and will also be required to attend classes on the dangerous effects of prostitution. In passing this legislation, France joined Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland and Canada in proving its commitment to human rights and gender equality.

Countries that have adopted the Nordic Model have seen a considerable reduction in prostitution. In contrast, attempts to criminalize the sale of sexual services and/or legalize prostitution have proven ineffective. Only by eliminating the demand for such services can we limit and eradicate this phenomenon, sending a clear message that Israeli society is unwilling to tolerate the purchase of women, men and children’s bodies for sexual services.

According to a recent survey on prostitution in Israel, two thirds of women report turning to prostitution out of financial desperation, and 76% express desire to break out of the cycle of prostitution. The time has come for Israel to demonstrate its own commitment to justice. We call on Knesset Members of Israel to support legislation to criminalize the purchase of sexual services while providing support for those in prostitution.

Frace

11 Apr

HAARETZ – Punish Clients, Not Prostitutes

11Haaretz Editorial, Haaertz Newspaper, 11/04/2016

Prostitutes in Tel Aviv.The photograph shows two figures wearing high boots standing on a street, their backs to the camera.

A “major advance” for human rights and women’s rights was how French Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the law passed by his country’s parliament on Wednesday, making it illegal to pay for sex in France. From now on, engaging the service of a prostitute is a criminal offense that carries a fine.Continue Reading HAARETZ – Punish Clients, Not Prostitutes

01 Apr

Prostitution and Brothels – how legal are they across the world?

By Asa Bennet, The Telegraph, 01/06/2016

From today, paying for sex becomes illegal in Northern Ireland, following the examples of Norway and Sweden in criminalising the clients of sex workers.  Many believe the move will prompt similar laws in the rest of the UK, despite strong opposition from those who argue that legalisation would be the best protection for those involved.

Continue Reading Prostitution and Brothels – how legal are they across the world?

07 Mar

Int’l Women’s Day and Prostitution

This week we will celebrate International Women’s Day. Though it has been over one-hundred years since the founding of this Day, we have yet to achieve true equality in our society and have yet to eradicate the exploitation of women in prostitution.

When speaking about prostitution, we generally discuss the destructive influence it has on women trapped in the cycle of the trade. In recognition of International Women’s Day, we would like to address the link between prostitution and other issues of gender equality: equal pay for men and women; equal representation in the government, the judicial system and in core decision-making posts; sexual violence; and violence against women in the home and in public spaces.

Prostitution is a form of violence against women, situated at the furthest point on the continuum of gender inequality. It engenders a situation in which a woman’s body is commoditized even as the woman herself becomes invisible. Prostitution is thus the point where we cease to see women as people and perceive them as objects, vessels, bodies for sale.

For this reason, there is a close relationship between the status of every woman in our society and the phenomenon of prostitution. In the same way, as long as slavery remained legal in most of world no man or woman was truly free, so too as long as it is acceptable to use women for the purpose of prostitution, no one among us is truly free.

Therefore, on this International Women’s Day, we call all Knesset Members of Israel to act to eliminate prostitution from the world in the only proven, effective way – adoption of the Nordic Model which criminalizes the purchase of prostituted services, while assisting women to escape the cycle of prostitution. Only in this way will we be able to pave the way for a new generation of children with equal respect for women and men who understand no one is allowed to misuse or abuse their bodies.

It is 2016, time that the State of Israel pass the National Struggle Against Prostitution Bill prohibiting the purchase of sexual services and providing aid to prostitution survivors.