20 May

Writing to MKs to support criminalization of prostitution

The summer parliamentary season of The Knesset has begun and so has our work promoting The Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill. The Bill, submitted by MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) and MK Zehava Galon (Meretz), was written by TFHT and is formally supported by 40 MKs. It will soon be brought to the Ministerial Committee and we are doing everything within our power to gain the Committee’s support, thus increasing the probability if its passage by the Knesset.

Please see below the 61 MKs that have answered positively and/or signed on to bills fighting prostitution by incriminating its clients:

Write to other MKs to join and support as well!

Continue Reading Writing to MKs to support criminalization of prostitution

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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.

Continue Reading The next step to eliminate prostitution in Israel

18 Mar

Significant advance in the struggle to eliminate Prostitution and Trafficking in Israel

Last week, TFHT’s Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill was submitted by MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (HaBayit HaYehudi) and MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) to the Knesset. The bill has already garnered the support of 40 coalition and opposition MKs. This is an encouraging and crucial step forward in our campaign to eliminate prostitution and rehabilitate its victims in Israel.

 

הצעת החוק

Continue Reading Significant advance in the struggle to eliminate Prostitution and Trafficking in Israel

07 Mar

Standing with the victims of prostitution on International Women’s Day

March 8th, we will celebrate International Women’s Day. The day will also be marked in the Knesset plenum and at the sittings of committees considering legislation affecting women’s status. Among those bills is one authored by TFHT addressing prostitution, a degrading social phenomenon assaulting many walks of Israeli life.

This week we asked Project 119 to email the Minister of Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, to bring to her attention the state of prostituted women and call upon her to support the Nordic Model bill.

יום האישה

Continue Reading Standing with the victims of prostitution on International Women’s Day

02 Feb

Preventing the next victim of prostitution

Two prostituted women, M’ who was 21 and N’, 46, have tragically died last month. Both were known to the welfare authorities for their repeated attempts to exit the circle of prostitution. They now join a too long list of 51 prostituted women in Israel who died in the past decade – and of these there is public record, there undoubtedly being many more. May their souls rest in peace. Click here to read the article published in Haaretz about M’.

For those trapped in prostitution, every day that passes without significant, progressive, legal and social change is critical. Last year, an inter-ministerial committee was established by the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, to examine possible Government sponsorship of the “Nordic Model” bill written by TFHT.

80 אחוז
Continue Reading Preventing the next victim of prostitution

15 Dec

It’s about time to close the Pussycat Club

TFHT repeatedly confronted the Tel-Aviv Municipality and Israeli Police about the Pussycat Club, a strip club notorious for running a brothel in its back rooms undisturbed by any local authority. Finally, the police raided the Club, founding evidence of sexual services solicited, and ordered the destruction of its “private” rooms.

Subsequently, last week TFHT filed an administrative appeal against the Tel-Aviv Municipality and its Mayor, Ron Huldai, asking the court to cancel it’s license and close the Club.

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Continue Reading It’s about time to close the Pussycat Club

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

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