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.

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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

06 Mar

Prostitution in Israel Netted $308 Million in 2014, First-ever Survey Finds

By Lee Yaron and Or Kashti, Haaretz Newspaper, 06/03/2016

The first-ever government survey into prostitution in Israel found that annual payments to sex workers amounted to an estimated 1.2 billion shekels ($308.2 million) in 2014. The survey by the social affairs and public security ministries found there were between 11,420 and 12,730 prostitutes in Israel that year, 95 percent of them female. The data, published last week, showed that each sex worker had approximately 660 clients a year.

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20 Dec

Review ‘Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution’

By Rachelle Tchiprout

PaidFor

‘Paid For – My Journey Through Prostitution’ by Rachel Moran is an autobiographical book about her experiences as a prostituted woman in Ireland for 7 years. There are a number of things Rachel Moran has taught me – and her story is one that should be shared with all. All of these lessons are essential to the knowledge of the world of prostitution, and essential to my understanding of the roles of women in today’s society. The key things I have learnt from Rachel can be summarized as:

  1. Prostitution is not, and never will be, a product of ‘sexual liberation’
  2. Women do not ‘choose’ prostitution. Is it a ‘choice’ when there appears to be no viable alternative?
  3. Prostitution should not be made illegal. The act of buying sex should be. Why punish the exploited and not the exploiter? (Also known as the ‘Nordic model’)
  4. There is no difference between a ‘high-class prostitute’ and a street-walker.
  5. Drugs are commonly a result of prostitution (and thus perpetuate it), as the women involved search for a mental escape from their traumatic lives.
  6. If you have never experienced prostitution, you cannot possibly assess the extent of its mental and physical influence over an individual.

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13 Dec

TFHT’s International Reach

Michal_Leibel_pic-237x300TFHT Director Michal Leibel spent much of the Sukkot holiday attending an international conference in Nicosia, Cyprus.  The “International Best Practices in Combating Human Trafficking” Conference was organized by PRIO and hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in partnership with the Swedish and Norwegian Ministries for Foreign Affairs. Researchers, funders, direct service providers, policy makers and activists from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, USA, Germany, Austria and Sweden, Israel and the Palestinian Territories gathered to discuss issues such as victim services, public policy, legislation, the allocation of resources towards law enforcement and rehabilitation and the need for close collaboration between the authorities and civil society.

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13 Dec

Jessica – the Tragic Suicide in HaYarkon 98

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By Rachelle Tchiprout

“She had to drink and drug herself each night to steel herself in preparation to ‘service’ 20-30 of the brothel’s johns who paid to repeatedly rape her.” – Michal Leibel

On August 13th, 2015, a 36-year old woman hung herself in the brothel where she worked and lived for many years. After 15 years of repeated abuse, she took her life as a way out of the world of prostitution.

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08 Nov

A Letter to a Woman in Prostitution

Written by Ahuva Sheli (pseudonym), a survivor of prostitution

Hi, how are you? I am writing you this letter, hoping you will read it to the end.

Like you, I became trapped in the prostitution cycle five years ago. I had been previously raped, and violent partners took my kids from me.  My children were placed in institutions where they experienced rape attempts, mental and physical abuse, all of which was silenced leading me to rely more heavily on drugs. I understand. Like you I went through hell, met Satan, slept with him and was paid by him. I lived in a world of delusions and heard voices. I was like you. I still choke sometimes – don’t think it’s otherwise.  I did blow jobs to survive, slept with all sorts of men for money, I am neither more nor less than you. Like you I wept at night and I know what it’s like to live without parents, without a family, and having no one to turn to.  Hardly knowing what to do. Thinking of freedom. It is not freedom. It’s a trap!

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08 Nov

Paying the Price

By Rebecca Hughes

At least once a week, someone mistakes me for a prostitute. It started two years ago when I moved to south Tel-Aviv. At first I didn’t understand why cars were pulling up alongside me as I walked home, trailing me for a few moments and then driving away. After a few months I casually mentioned this strange behavior to one of my neighbors.

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