A prostitute waits for customers along a road..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tel Aviv police have secured a warrant closing a brothel in the city for 30 days after a prostitute who worked there took her own life inside the establishment earlier this month.
The prostitute, 36-years-old and for many years a sex worker in Tel Aviv, hung herself inside the building two weeks ago.
Police came and cleared out the body and the brothel resumed operations that same night.
The woman’s death led to a protest Saturday night outside the brothel at 98 Hayarkon Street, where hundreds, including fellow sex workers and friends of the deceased woman, held a minute of silence for women who have died in the sex trade, and called for stronger legislation against prostitution in Israel, where solicitation of prostitution is legal but pimping is an offense.
Protesters also took issue with the fact that the brothel had been open for over a decade, even after police and the courts had in past years secured a series of warrants temporarily closing it.
Tel Aviv police have opened an investigation into the establishment on suspicion of pimping and other crimes. Tel Aviv Police spokeswoman Ch.- Supt. Hila Ben-Hamo said that the Thursday warrant for the brothel’s closure wasn’t secured because of the woman’s suicide, but rather because of complaints by neighbors.
She said that officers who came to the establishment last Thursday found that “there was reason to believe that there are crimes of pimping and prostitution being committed, so we closed it.”
The sex worker did not kill herself within the brothel itself, but in an apartment above it which was rented out for her and a few other women who worked in the brothel, the police officer added.
The owners of the building have the right to appeal the closure, and a past police closure of the establishment was overturned by a Tel Aviv court, Ben-Hamo said.
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