A prostitute waits for customers along a road..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Legislation that would make it illegal to be a patron of a prostitute has received the backing of Welfare Minister Haim Katz, making it much more likely to pass into law.
Katz supports the bill by MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) and Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), Channel 2 reported Saturday night, with one caveat: It would not apply to minors.
As proposed, johns over age 18 would have to pay a NIS 750 fine for using sexual services.
Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), chairwoman of the Knesset Subcommittee to Combat Prostitution and Human Trafficking, said she is glad the idea that prostitution should be eradicated is becoming more widespread.
“Some people still see prostitution as a legitimate act of consumerism, and there is no greater lie than that,” Lavie said. “It is a world of dependence and enslavement. No girl dreams of being a prostitute when she grows up, and a Welfare Ministry survey found that more than 75 percent [of prostitutes] would like to leave and need rehabilitation.”
In addition to making it illegal to frequent prostitutes, the government must create frameworks in which the women can be rehabilitated and integrated into society, she said.
“Countries that adopted these laws, in the spirit of the Nordic model, had a significant drop in prostitution,” Lavie said.
Moalem-Refaeli agreed that prostitutes need help from the state to leave the profession.
“A civilized society must do all it can to stop the injustice in taking advantage of these women and work to rehabilitate them,” she said. “The way to free women stuck in the cycle of prostitution requires government intervention. This bill is moral, humane and Jewish, and it is meant to help those women in crisis.”
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