The smuggling of women into Israel for prostitution has dropped dramatically, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told the Knesset’s Committee for Combating Women Trafficking on Monday.

“Every victim is unnecessary, but since 2006 women trafficking has been reduced drastically,” the minister said, citing a 2010 State Department report on the issue.

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Yet the minister said police have not managed to decrease women trafficking for the illegal labor market.

Aharonovitch also remained concerned about sexual offenses and exploitation of minors on the Internet. He described the latter phenomenon as “sad and disgraceful,” and said police would do “all it could” to eliminate them.

The committee also discussed the issue of sums paid by African migrants to Beduin who take them across Egypt and into Israel.

Aharonvitch said he was aware of a $3,000 fee charged by the smugglers.

But attorney Rahel Gershoni, of the Justice Ministry’s anti-human trafficking office, said the sums reached astronomical levels, such as $30,000. She based her figures on 70 interviews with African migrants.

“Recently, because of the [border] fence [being built on the Israel-Egyptian border], the sum is falling,” she added.

Gershoni praised the police’s work in combating people smuggling, noting that American officials who deal with the same issue were invited to Israel to examine Israeli enforcement.

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