(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The Tel Aviv District Court convicted Rami Saban and four others Thursday of
trafficking hundreds of women into Israel for prostitution, three years after
the original indictment.
The panel of justices, headed by Justice Khaled
Kaboub, wrote in the indictment that this was one of the largest human
trafficking operations in Israel’s history, charging the defendants with
smuggling women into Israel through the border with Egypt.
transfer to Israel, the women were sold to an escort service where they worked
as prostitutes from cars and local brothels.
The operation’s reach went
as far as Northern Cyprus, where the trafficking ring ran a brothel.
court also found the four guilty of falsifying documents, including
Eight men were indicted in March 2009 for the human
trafficking ring; two of them became state witnesses as part of a plea
The chief suspect in the case, Saban, 35, from Megadim, was
charged with 23 felony offenses, including conspiracy to commit a crime,
operating a brothel, managing a brothel, solicitation, forcing a person to leave
their country of residence to work as a prostitute, assault, forgery, money
laundering and harassing witnesses.
The three key suspects are alleged to
have pocketed between NIS 1m. and NIS 3m. each.
The women were kept – and
often imprisoned – in Tel Aviv apartments that were rented for them by the
suspects, the charge sheet relates.
Saban, seen as the leader of the
pack, was convicted back in 2001 of human trafficking and sentenced to 31 months
in jail, and was found guilty of operating a brothel a year later.