Archives for May 2013

Tel Aviv Conference – Prostitution, Stripping and Everything in Between

On Monday, May 13th ATZUM’s Task Force on Human Trafficking attended Prostitution, Stripping and Everything in Between, a conference hosted by Saleet, a Tel Aviv shelter for women exiting prostitution. Throughout the day participants attended presentations on topics ranging from the factors that push people into prostitution to sex tourism in Thailand. Representatives from a wide variety of non-profits, media outlets, and Tel-Aviv’s government attended the conference. “It was great event,” remarked Gili Varon, TFHT director. “It was particularly encouraging to see Mayor Huladi and other representatives from the Tel-Aviv Municipality in attendance. It shows their commitment to this important issue.”

TFHT Times of Israel Blog

The Task Force on Human Trafficking is pleased to announce the launch of its blog on the Times of Israel website. The blog deals with issues surrounding sex trafficking and prostitution, with a particular focus on the effect that they have in Israel. The blog will serve as a platform to engage the public. You can read the first post here to learn about the history of sex trafficking and prostitution in Israel. Stay tuned for more posts!

TFHT Co-Executive Director Rabbi Levi Lauer Presents at Limmud

ATZUM Founder and TFHT Co-Executive Director Rabbi Levi Lauer tells us that Limmud UK is a widely diverse, engaging and productive Jewish educational conference. His presentation on the Task Force’s work this past December was attended by tens of people who volunteered to help TFHT’s work after learning of its efforts.

Rabbi Lauer sought to better inform the attendees about the situation of prostitution and human trafficking in Israel and the necessity of non-government organization involvement to effect legislative change. In his discussion, Rabbi Lauer described the development of ATZUM’s work, beginning with raising awareness in Israel through media, then prioritizing the passage of progressive legislation encouraging the enforcement of existing anti-trafficking laws.

It was particularly important for Rabbi Lauer his talk convey that to love Israel is to confront the country’s most egregious problems, and that Jews from the Diaspora are of vital importance in pushing for change. “I think that more people are aware. Getting cooperation from the Diaspora is important. Every Jew in the world who cares about the destiny of the Jewish people should take this seriously.”

How Porn Creates the John

On December 19th the Task Force on Human Trafficking and the Lafer Center for Women and Gender Studies jointly hosted a lecture at Hebrew University. Professor Gail Dines presented How Porn Creates the John: Porn, Trafficking, and the Social Construction of Masculinity.

Professor Dines is a professor of Sociology and Women Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, MA. She is also the author of numerous articles and books, including Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality. Her lecture dealt with the ways in which the rising violence and misogyny within the porn industry increases the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking.

Since the lecture, the Task Force has received many requests for a video of the event. We are pleased to announce the lecture can be viewed in its entirety below.

Natasha Mann – Volunteer Profile

Natasha joined the Task Force in October as she settled into life in Jerusalem. She came to Israel as an ATZUM AGN Scholarship Recipient to study for the year at the Conservative Yeshiva. Her studies were in preparation for applying to rabbinical school, and we are pleased to announce her acceptance.

When Natasha joined the Task Force she was interested in volunteering but unsure of how her skills could best be used. After researching the sex trade, she began to work with Project 119, and she has been writing our weekly letters to MKs ever since. She has also taken on much of the behind-the-scenes work of Project 119, updating and reshaping our communications systems (collecting research, and recruiting and keeping in touch with volunteers).

Natasha relates her letter-writing skills have vastly improved since she began working with Project 119. “It was awkward at first,” she admits, “but the more I learned, the more passionate I became about the subject. Now I enjoy every week, as it gives me a new opportunity speak my mind about why the Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill is so incredibly important.”