Daily Israel Report

Strides Being Made to Combat Human Trafficking in Israel

Organization that seeks to combat social injustices achieved a victory in battle against prostitution and sex trafficking in Israel.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/17/2012, 4:40 PM

Women's section of bus
Women's section of bus
Israel news photo: Flash 90

ATZUM, an organization that seeks to combat and resole the social injustices in Israeli society, achieved another victory in the ongoing battle against prostitution and sex trafficking in Israel. 

The organization’s Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT) has been highlighting the prevalence of illegal advertisements for sexual services in Israel and the lack of police initiative to prosecute the perpetrators. 

As a result of TFHT's lobbying in the Knesset, legislation on the issue, originally passed two years ago, has been strengthened and its intent clarified.

Over the last few months, in order to demonstrate to the Supreme Court the ease with which such ads can still be published in Israel, the TFHT placed false advertisements for sexual services in popular newspapers. 

The advertisements included phone numbers that prospective clients could call to schedule an appointment with a sex worker.

Hopeful customers who called the number were greeted by a recording of an actress telling the story of how she had come to work in prostitution. The TFHT monitored how many calls these numbers received, and used them to prove the widespread demand for prostitution in Israel.     

While the Supreme Court ruled that police and newspapers required more time to understand and comply with the law, soon thereafter Israel’s police arrested the owner of Banana, a monthly newspaper that exclusively advertises sexual services and is the country’s largest carrier of such advertisements.

Established in 2002, ATZUM’s programs, in addition to those combating human trafficking, include eradicating modern slavery, providing assistance to families of victims of terror, caring for “Righteous Gentiles” who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust and empowering Ethiopian high school students.