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Over 1000 minors fell into prostitution over the course of 2005, according to the annual report published by Elem, a non-profit organization that provides outreach to youth in distress.
This figure represents an increase of 50% over 2004.
Elem director Zion Gabbai said that the relatively new occurrence of girls as young as 13 trading in sexual intercourse was not limited to girls from poor families. "Girls from middle and upper-class backgrounds are experimenting with prostitution, sometimes as rebellion and as a way of flouting the rules, and often out of a state of chronic victimization.
These girls are in emotional and social distress, and they use their budding sexuality to strengthen their self esteem and win emotional and material rewards," Gabbai continued.
The number of violent incidents involving girls also rose in 2005, as did the figures on girls suffering from depression, girls who were sexually molested, and girls engaged in prostitution.
2005 also witnessed a rise of 20% in the number of underage girls living on the street - some 2400, who represent approximately 30% of all homeless minors.
A total of more than 40,000 criminal files were opened on minors in 2005.