Knesset passes law to combat human trafficking

The Justice Ministry's plan will give the Israeli government the tools to combat human trafficking, the ministry said.

 Minister of Justice Gideon Saar speaks at a swearing in ceremony for newly appointed judges at the President's residence in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2022. (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)
Minister of Justice Gideon Saar speaks at a swearing in ceremony for newly appointed judges at the President's residence in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2022.
(photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)

The Knesset passed a law on Sunday that coordinates various branches of government in combatting human trafficking in Israel.

The law, which was pushed by the Justice Ministry leader Gideon Sa'ar, will give the Israeli government the tools to combat new phenomena that are correlated with human trafficking, the ministry said in a statement

These include the use of violence, exploitation and the denial of liberty and freedoms of both minors and adults through slavery. The ministry said this is done to coerce and exploit victims as a means of providing sexual services, forced labor and even organ trafficking.

How can Israel improve in preventing human trafficking?

As part of the bill presented by Sa'ar, the protection protocols for victims of crimes of this nature will be amended and improved, the statement continues. In addition, the ministry's mechanism for recognizing such victims will also be changed. 10 foreign students who arrived in Israel to take part in an apprenticeship program in the agriculture sector were recognized last year by the state as victims of human trafficking.

In terms of law enforcement, the bill promises to improve enforcement and awareness of crimes committed in cyberspace. 

 Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai at a Public Security Committee meeting, July 5, 2022. (credit: NOAM MOSCOWITZ/KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE) Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai at a Public Security Committee meeting, July 5, 2022. (credit: NOAM MOSCOWITZ/KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

The statement also noted that one of the bill's aims is to increase cooperation between Israeli and international law enforcement agencies.

On Wednesday, Israel Police concluded an agreement with the European Union to share intelligence with the EU's Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, more commonly known as Europol.

As per the new deal, which will focus on information on serious crime and terrorism, Israeli law enforcement will be able to share and receive intel with their European counterparts in real time.

Sa'ar: Preventing human trafficking at the core of Israel's values

Approving the bill on Sunday would be an "important and valuable decision...which is at the core of Israel's fundamental values as a democratic and Jewish state," Sa'ar said in a statement. 

"The plan includes many necessary and meaningful actions that will be taken whole increasing the cooperation between branches of government to end the trafficking and exploitation phenomena."