Prostitution law passes first Knesset hurdle

Bill passes first reading in Knesset plenum, to be forwarded to parliamentary c'tee for adjustments before becoming law.

By
February 15, 2012 18:59
2 minute read.
Prostitute [illustrative]

Prostitute hooker street walker 390 (R). (photo credit: Edgard Garrido / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A bill that will make paying for sex services a criminal offense passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday and will be forwarded to one of the parliamentary committees for further review and adjustments before becoming law.

The legislation was proposed by MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women, and is supported by many Knesset members from across the political spectrum.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


It will impose a sentence of six-months in jail or community service on any person who utilizes the services of a prostitute or pays for any other related sexual services.

On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation gave the bill its initial stamp of approval, and the proposed draft is already being well-received by nonprofit organizations working with victims of prostitution and trafficking.

Earlier on Wednesday, Zuaretz held a hearing in her committee to discuss the success of the bill thus far and to explore next steps if and when the law is finally passed.

In her opening statement to the committee, Zuaretz emphasized that she feels it is her duty as an elected official to “protect human dignity” and that her work in making this law a reality is part and parcel of that. She described the legislation as a central element in empowering social change with regard to prostitution and human trafficking.

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), chairwoman of the Committee on the Status of Women, called the bill an “historic achievement.”

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“When I signed on this law, I thought it was only a pipe dream and that nothing would really be done to protect these women,” she said.

“But I believe that if you are determined then you can, one day, create a new order in society.”

Hotovely added that in the process of making this law a reality, Zuaretz had succeeded in changing accepted social norms, similar to when the law dealing with sexual harassment was first approved.

Heads of various nongovernment organizations working to eliminate human trafficking and sexual slavery, academics and other government officials also hailed the preliminary approval of the law, pointing out that it has already gone a long way toward changing accepted social attitudes toward the country’s booming sex industry.

Although there are no official figures, it is estimated that there are currently more than 15,000 people working in the prostitution industry in Israel, 5,000 of whom are minors. Israel has been a destination country for more than 25,000 victims of human trafficking since the 1990s.

Research further suggests that many of Israel’s prostitutes and sex slaves are controlled by pimps and some experience violence at the hands of their clients. The clients come from every segment of society and every ethnic, religious and socioeconomic stratum.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Tzippi Nachshon-Glick, director of Services for Adults and Young Adults at Risk in the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, also spoke about the existing government program to help rehabilitate women looking to leave the sex industry.

Nachshon-Glick said that the program, which was initiated by the government in 2006 and receives up to NIS 10 million a year for shelters and rehabilitation programs in Haifa and Tel Aviv, will soon be expanded to Beersheba and Eilat.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD