A prostitute waits for customers along a road..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Tel Aviv Municipality revoked the business license of the well-known Pussycat strip club in late April following prostitution allegations and an NGO is planning to oppose efforts to renew their license.
The revocation follows a petition filed by the Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT) in the Tel Aviv District Court in December and police findings that sex services were provided in private rooms in the club.
In the petition the NGO claimed that the strip club, one of Israel’s biggest, operates as a brothel for all intents and purposes, with prostitution occurring in the club’s private rooms. Undercover police activity in the club revealed alleged sex services provided in private rooms with the owners allegedly taking an NIS 100 cut of the prostitution payments. Some of the club’s workers were foreign tourists in Israel, without legal status, the NGO said.
A court hearing on Thursday is scheduled to determine the conditions of giving the club a new license.
The club also demolished the private rooms, where the alleged prostitution occurred, and thus the police will not oppose renewing the license, attorney Avital Rosenberger-Seri of TFHT said.
A police spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
“But our stance is if this place for the last 10 years operates as a brothel there’s no way they will do anything else,” Rosenberger-Seri told The Jerusalem Post.
The club’s owners deny any prostitution in the building, “It is not and has never been operated as a brothel club,” they said in a statement.
“The municipality is beginning to internalize what has been claimed by field officials for a long time – strip clubs, such as the Pussycat, are brothels sponsored by the law,” Rosenberger- Seri said, “We welcome the importance the municipality sees in eradicating prostitution, but the way to eradicate it is to incriminate customers and the fundamental message that we must have legislation. The body of a woman Is not a commodity and consumption of prostitution harms women, men, and society as a whole.”
TFHT accused the Pussycat of being a “gateway” for prostitution in Israel where woman are recruited from across the country as strip dancers and then exploited for prostitution.
A number of strip clubs in Ramat Gan and the Baby Dolls club in Haifa were closed due to prostitution allegations.