Police disbanding of anti-women-trafficking upheld in court

MK Zuaretz filed position earlier this year with two NGOs over closing of Sa'ar unit, spreading anti-trafficking duties to local police.

women_311 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
(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.
MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), who is the chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for Combating Women Trafficking, filed the petition earlier this year together with two NGOs.
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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 trafficking.
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.
Danino said 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.”
He described 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.”
Zuaretz 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,” Zuaretz added.