(photo credit: Bloomberg)
The High Court upheld a police decision to disband a unit combating
women-trafficking on Monday, and rejected a petition against the move.
RELATED:Knesset alarmed by disbanding of anti-trafficking unit
Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), who is the chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for
Combating Women Trafficking, filed the petition earlier this year together with
The petition raised objections to the police’s decision to shut
down the national Sa’ar Unit, and spread out anti-trafficking duties to local
police districts around the country.
Petitioners said the change would
significantly harm Israel’s efforts against human trafficking, and warned that
it would tarnish Israel’s image as a world leader in combating human
But Police Insp.-Gen.
Yochanan Danino and the head of
Operations Branch, Cmdr. Bentsi Sao, told the court that the phenomenon of
smuggling women into Israel from Sinai in Egypt had ended.
the decision to close the unit would allow police to “spread our capabilities
around the country, improve the quality of our service, and enable us to serve
peripheral areas, as well as minorities on an equal basis.”
women-trafficking as a “disgraceful phenomenon,” vowing that police would “spare
no efforts to combat it.”
“Instead of one unit to fight this, local
districts will take charge of the issue. [As a result,] intelligence and
deterrence will improve in 2012,” Danino told the court.
Cmdr. Sao added
that the largest “criminal threat from the south is the infiltration of African
migrants in large numbers.”
Responding to the High Court’s decision,
Zuaretz said, “We will not end our monitoring of police activities, and the
allocation of funds for tackling human trafficking in Israel.”
said the police’s arguments that the unit’s closure are the result of structural
changes “required evidence on the ground.”
“We won’t allow the police to
close their eyes and claim that the phenomenon of trafficking has decreased,”