Whores, prostituted and trafficked persons and faux feminists

The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade.

woman prostitute talks to man 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
woman prostitute talks to man 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The struggle against human sex trafficking in Israel has made appreciable progress in the past decade. Mass media have better informed the public of the severity and dimensions of this vast criminal enterprise. The police and courts are more responsive to the need to arrest and prosecute traffickers and pimps, even while enforcement of anti-trafficking legislation too often remains spotty and lacks prioritization.
The Sinai fence and more effective border patrolling has appreciably, though not totally abrogated the tacit understandings between the IDF and Beduin smugglers that annually brought thousands of sex slaves into Israel’s brothels and not-so-discrete apartments.
There are fewer people who ask us, “Are any of those zonot [“whores”] Jewish?” as if that were the issue.
The bad news is that because of the unabated, enormous demand for paid sexual services (i.e. the rape and exploitation of sex slaves and prostituted persons), thousands of Israeli women, and girls as young as 13, are coerced by the ravages of poverty, incest and rape, and inhospitable homes and streets, into sexual servitude. Procurers and their underworld bosses subjugate them in lives almost never truly rehabilitated by even the most valiant and dedicated social welfare agencies and NGOs. The bad news is that tens of thousands of ghosts (of course no “john” is our husband/fiancé/brother/uncle/father/friend/colleague) continue to buy women’s bodies in order, as they commonly express it, “to make them do whatever I want.”
That’s right, the purchase of sex is about power, not about sex, about societal toleration of the abuse of women’s bodies – and souls.
So who would seek to countenance that abuse, find rationalization for dehumanizing degradation, for furthering the denigration of women’s status? Who are these faux feminists who argue for a woman’s right to sell her body? Where is the logic in maintaining a brutal “industry” relying on the one-in-a thousand report of a woman gleefully making a living (but hardly a life) working as a prostituted person? Let’s get personal. When Rivka’s, Susi’s or Avivit’s daughter comes home tonight and says, “Ima, I’ve decided to take a new job. I’ll make more working as a whore than as a waitress/ teacher/nurse/accountant/CEO,” that mother will say, “No problem, motek [sweetheart], whatever makes you happy.”
Sure they will, and motherhood will become irreparably debased.
What those well-meaning, wrong-headed apologists for abuse really mean is that rather than confront the evils of family life and social disparity that drive women to sell themselves, we’ll make it okay for those unfortunates, and economically distressed, illegal residents, to satisfy the power-hungry games of their ghosts. These women are serving the perversity of our neighbors, and our family members.
Who did you think was buying? In this season of collective Jewish repentance, now is the time to put an end to this evil. Now is the time to support the legislation pending in the Knesset to criminalize the purchase of sexual services and decriminalize the provider of that dehumanization. Now is the hour to join the enlightened world and enact progressive legislation to bring the ghosts out of the dark backrooms, hotel suites and strip clubs and free the women enslaved and objectified by others’ corrupted desires.
No more whores, prostituted persons and faux feminists.
In this New Year we’ll open the doors to women to make truly free choices of profession and welcome to our lives more truly liberated mothers, social workers, bank clerks, attorneys – and whatever else they choose to become.
Levi D. Lauer is the founding executive director of ATZUM – Justice Works, www.ATZUM.org, an Israel not-for-profit whose efforts include: Project Abrah for Ethiopian Students and Prisoners of Zion, The Roberta Project for Survivors of Terror, The Righteous Among the Nations Project, TFHT-The Task Force on Human Trafficking, TAKUM – an international social justice Beit Midrash, and The AGN Scholarship Fund.