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.