‘Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity.” (Leviticus 19:29).
The fight for women’s empowerment and equality is ongoing, and as we embrace technological advancements, we must remain vigilant about the risks that women face. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) calls for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to adopt the Nordic model in the fight against prostitution, as part of a broader strategy to tackle sex trafficking and prostitution in all its forms.
I am proud to lead an organization that for over 14 years, has been at the forefront of the battle against the sex trade in Israel by developing policies, educating the public, and collaborating with communities and media platforms to promote its abolition. Our efforts have resulted in the adoption of the Nordic model in Israel, and today we urge the international community to follow suit.
As the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women focuses on innovation and technological change, we must not forget the dangers that these advancements pose to women and girls. Internet prostitution has become a rising threat to their safety. Traffickers are increasingly using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder as recruiting tools, driving the rise of prostitution. In Israel, Tinder is the most popular tool for finding persons engaged in the purchase and sale of sex.
Improving the status of safety for women
Prostitution is a system that promotes violence, objectification, and degradation of women and men. The Nordic model fines those guilty of engaging in prostitution, and it is classed as a civil offense. The law also provides education and support services to those in the sex trade. Decriminalizing the prostituted person acknowledges that the industry is not freely chosen, and that the prostituted person is the victim of economic and sexual exploitation at the hands of the procurer and buyer of sexual services.
THIS MODEL’S ultimate aim is to abolish the sex industry, which can only be achieved by criminalizing the buyers of sex, as that will lead to a drastic reduction in demand. However, the evolution of internet prostitution requires governments to develop even more comprehensive strategy-based solutions to protect potential victims from predators.
The Prohibition on Consuming Prostitution Act was passed by the Israeli Parliament in December 2018. It presents a vision for a holistic approach that focuses not only on prohibiting paying for sex, but also on educating the public about the dangers of the sex industry, by providing the opportunity for rehabilitation through governmental funding. The law also offers educational group sessions for the buyers, aimed at changing their opinions and curbing recurrent infractions.
The Israeli law offers a blueprint for other countries to follow in the fight against prostitution. The rise of online prostitution through platforms like Onlyfans, which has emerged as the top platform worldwide for creators to sell erotic content, must be stopped. Masked as a social network that sells content and art, Onlyfans is just a simple way for sex to be sold for money on the internet. A third of users advertising explicitly sexual images on Twitter are underage.
The fight for women’s rights and dignity is an ongoing battle that requires continuous effort and innovative strategies to overcome the challenges posed by technological advancements. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice’s global call for the adoption of the Nordic model in the fight against prostitution and sex trafficking, is a step in the right direction.
It is time for governments worldwide to take action and work towards abolishing the sex industry and protecting the human rights of all individuals from violence, objectification, and exploitation.
The writer is CEO of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.