June 20, 2018
Until now, prostitution has been a legal activity in the State of Israel. But a new law was just passed that makes paying for sex a crime – a move the country believes will help stop human trafficking.
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “Prostitution is ethically problematic and harms and objectifies the bodies of Israeli women.”
“Prostitution is ethically problematic and harms and objectifies the bodies of Israeli women.” – Justice Ministery Ayelet Shaked
The Israeli government chose to adopt the Nordic model that has been extremely effective in eradicating human trafficking in Sweden. This model criminalizes the buyers, not the sellers who are often forced or coerced into prostitution.
First-time offenders will be fined 1500 shekels ($410 US) and twice that for repeat offenders. The law also includes a therapeutic-educational program known as a John School to educate the buyers about the harmful effects of prostitution. In addition, the prosecution has the option of indicting offenders.
No child wakes up one morning and says, “I want to be a prostitute when I grow up.”
Israeli leaders realize that most people involved in prostitution did not choose to be there. No child wakes up one morning and says, “I want to be a prostitute when I grow up.” People in this situation are either forced by another person or by their circumstances. Due to this, in the coming months, the government will ask for approval of a comprehensive therapeutic and medical program for women in prostitution. This program can help break the cycle of abuse and exploitation.
Also, Israel has plans to increase public awareness of the harmful effects of prostitution. Stricter penalties and awareness combine to help reduce demand for the purchase of sex. Eliminating customers is the most effective way to put human traffickers out of business.
We applaud Israel for taking such a bold stand against the oppression of prostitution and working to ensure that all its victims are given the care they need for healing and a better future.