05 May

The next step to eliminate prostitution in Israel

The summer session of The Knesset begins next week after Israel Independence Day. This session is crucial, for TFHT’s Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill, together with three other TFHT authored bills regarding criminalization of Johns and rehabilitation for Prostituted People, will be considered by the Ministers Committee. This is the first step in bringing the legislation to the Knesset floor.

This discussion will be appreciably influenced by the conclusions of the Inter-Ministerial team, established by the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, which examined adopting the “Nordic Model” in Israel.

The team was constituted of representatives of various government offices who have extensively researched and studied the dynamics of trafficking and prostitution in Israel. They have explored various existing legislative models and examined the possibility of implementing a policy of prohibition of consumption of prostitution services in Israel.

On March 14, 2017, the Knesset Sub-Committee dedicated to the fight against human trafficking and prostitution met with Minister of Justice Shaked, who stated their conclusions would be published in May, 2017. We are anxiously await the publication of those conclusions.

This week, we ask you request the Minister of Justice publish the Inter-Ministerial team’s conclusions and actively support the prohibition of prostitution services in Israel.

We urge Minister Shaked to delay no longer, for prostitution abuses its victims every day. We call upon Minister Shaked to free 12,500 people in Israel from the anguish of prostitution, with the hope she will help bring their misery to an end and create a better society in Israel.

Read the letter sent to Minister of Justice by P119 participants:

Dear Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked,

I write at the beginning of the coming summer Knesset session with the hope it will be a time of progress and change for the benefit of all Israeli citizens.

Currently, there are four bills waiting to be discussed in the Ministers Committee regarding the prohibition of consumption of prostitution. Most notable among them is the bill submitted by MKs Shuli Mualem-Refaeli and Zehava Galon and currently supported by 40 MKs.

I would like to remind you of the discussion on  February 14, 2017 of the Sub-Committee dedicated to the fight against human trafficking and prostitution. At that meeting, you declared the conclusions of the inter-ministerial team you established to examine the possibility of adopting a policy of prohibition of consumption of prostitution services in Israel would be published this May.

The team has worked for a year, extensively researching and studying the issue. It has examined existing models, particularly those of France and Sweden, which demonstrate criminalization of “Johns”, leads to a dramatic decrease in the demand for purchasing sexual services, therefore significantly reducing prostitution and trafficking.

I call upon you as the Minister who initiated this team, to publish it’s conclusions and support MKs Mualem-Refaeli’s and Galon’s bill without delay at the very outset of the Knesset’s summer session.

We have no time to wait – prostitution stalks its victims every day on Israel’s streets. In the past four months alone, three women have died as direct consequence of their brutalized lives in prostitution. As you know, there are 12,500 women, men, transgenders and minors, who live a daily reality of violence, exploitation and abuse on Israel’s streets, brothels and “discreet” apartments. There is no more time to wait and to waste!

I wish to strengthen your resolve. The National Survey on Prostitution in Israel found 76% of the Israeli public expects your government to act to eliminate prostitution. It is time to prohibit the consumption of prostitution services in Israel and take another step forward to the moral, responsible and humane decision to eliminate prostitution in all its forms.