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More than a third of criminals convicted of trafficking in women and related crimes in 2006 were repeat offenders, indicating that the initial punishments were not harsh enough to serve as a deterrent, the Hotline for Migrant Workers charged in a report published Wednesday.
"The gravest finding in this report shows that 21 out of 58 suspects whose trials took place or sentence handed down in 2006 had already been tried and convicted for the same crimes, mainly procuring and running a brothel," the report stated. "Apparently the light punishments handed down in the first trial did not have a deterrent effect. Perhaps they even had the opposite effect by serving as and for the convicts to return to the world of crime and human trafficking after completing their sentences."
Furthermore, the report said, these criminals were able to resume trafficking almost immediately after getting out of jail because they still had all the money they had previously earned from their crimes, since the courts rarely applied economic sanctions against them for their first convictions.
According to one example in the report, Victor Shulkin reached a plea bargain with the state regarding crimes including pimping, running a house of prostitution and extortion using threats. For these crimes, he was sentenced to six months in jail and 16 suspended.
According to the report, the average imprisonment term for traffickers in 2004 was 3.6 years and in 2005, 4.6 years. That figure dropped to 2.9 in 2006.
The Hotline for Migrant Workers also reported that the courts did not sufficiently exercise the right to extract compensation from the traffickers for their victims. The court awarded compensation in only 11 of the 17 trafficking convictions in 2006 for a total of NIS 314,000, which was NIS 18,500 less than the previous year.
The courts also do not make sufficient use of their powers to fine traffickers or seize their property, the report stated.