Proposed legislation could end all prostitution advertising

Gal-On's introduction of the bill comes less than a week ahead of International Women's Day on March 8th.

prostitute 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
prostitute 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On is set to unveil legislation Tuesday that will potentially ban all media - including promotional pamphlets and "business cards" - from advertising prostitution services and providing possible clients with access to the sex industry. Gal-On's introduction of the bill comes less than a week ahead of International Women's Day on March 8th and coincides with events taking place Tuesday in the Knesset to raise awareness to a wide range of women's issues. "The current law [on prostitution] gives legitimization to the advertising of sex clubs and prostitution in all variety of media," commented Gal-On, who heads the Knesset subcommittee on Trafficking in Women. Her bill has the backing of more than 20 other lawmakers from across the political spectrum. "Such promotion in newspapers or with pamphlets and business cards are an inseparable part of the trafficking in women chain." She continued: "Allowing potential clients to receive information about the sex industry only increases women's suffering and generates millions of shekels a year for criminals." Drafted by the Hotline for Migrant Workers legal adviser Nomi Levenkron, the legislation is intended to widen the existing scope of punishment for those who advertise and promote prostitution; increase jail time from six months to three years for those found guilty of advertising sex services; and up fines meted out. If passed, even those who place promotional material on cars, distribute provocative business cards or print leaflets advertising sex services will be made liable for prosecution. Newspapers, national and local, could also be found guilty if they run advertisements for brothels and other sex services. "These new restrictions have been created in order to protect the public sentiment on the basis of moral justice and not to eradicate prostitution completely," said Gal-On. "The law will not ban prostitution but only makes it criminal to... promote the services." Gal-On pointed out that a recent meeting of the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women not only highlighted the clear link between the growing sex industry in Israel and advertising, but also noted that despite a 2004 ruling against the country's three largest newspapers for advertising sex services, such ads were still regularly published. "Ten years have passed since the original law banning the advertisement of sex services was implemented and nothing has changed," finished Gal-On, who recently proposed additional legislation to ban virtual brothels that utilize the Internet. "The public is constantly bombarded with hundreds of provocative advertisements that boast sex services. It is clear that the current law does not provide a viable solution for slowing down the prostitution industry and trafficking in women."