It’s Time to Put the Pressure On

We are at the threshold of a potentially defining moment in the struggle against the consumption of prostitution in Israel!

On Sunday, July 16, a bill initiated and shaped by TFHT and  promoted by MKs Shuli Mualem-Refaeli and Zahava Galon, will be submitted to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. The bill seeks to criminalize the purchase of prostitution and provide rehabilitation for prostituted persons.

In preparation for this ministerial decision, the first and critical step toward passage in the Knesset’s current session, we seek to mobilize all possible support to ensure that the proposal will be passed. Therefore, we ask you now to email the members of the Ministerial Committee of Legislation, urging their support of this bill  to abolish prostitution in Israel.

Please inform friends, relatives and community leaders so that they might also help. This Sunday is the time to demand Israel’s decision-makers fulfill the will of the public and act without delay to prohibit the consumption of prostitution and rehabilitate victims of prostitution in Israel.

Step 1: Copy the email addresses below of the members of the Ministers Committee of Legislation, to a new email:

Infovatikim@pmo.gov.ilsar@justice.gov.iluria@knesset.gov.ilsar@moh.gov.ilsar@tourism.gov.ilsar@moc.gov.ilsar@moia.gov.iloakunis@knesset.gov.ilministerts@most.gov.ilreligions@religions.gov.ilsar@sviva.gov.ilsar@moch.gov.ilSar@mof.gov.il

Please Bcc: project119.tfht@gmail.com 

Step 2:  Insert in subject line: This is your time to act – support the Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution!

Step 3: Copy and paste the letter to the new email. Sign your name at the bottom, and hit send!

We thank you for your action and support!

Letter:

Dear Government Minister,

On Sunday, July 16, 2017, the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation will consider the Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill, submitted by MKs Shuli Mualem-Refaeli and Zehava Gal-On. I appeal to you to support this important bill.

71 Knesset Members and Ministers from the coalition and the opposition have declared their support for the bill, and polls reveal 76% of the Israeli public believes the government should act to abolish prostitution in Israel. Meanwhile, prostitution kills – in the last decade, 59 women have died as direct result of their lives in prostitution.

The bill turns the spotlight on the hidden side of prostitution – the clients who are the driving force of the “industry”, an industry turning over 1.2 billion NIS annually. Without client demand there will be no supply. A clear statement by the Knesset that consumption of prostitution is an immoral, illegitimate act to be legally proscribed will drastically decrease that demand.

The National Survey on Prostitution in Israel, conducted by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Security, reveals a harsh reality. In Israel there are 12,500 women, men, and teenage girls in prostitution; 97% are Israeli, 62% are mothers of children under the age of 18; and 1,500 are minors. The overwhelming majority of prostituted women report they entered prostitution as a result of economic distress, and 80% testified they would immediately leave the cycle of prostitution if they had the possibility to do so.

Law prohibiting the purchase of prostitution and rehabilitating the prostituted person has been implemented in many countries, including France, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Northern Ireland and more. Its message is clear: society is not willing for women to endure such extreme harm and therefore need act to reduce demand by deterring the consumers of prostitution.Studies show implementation of the prohibition against the purchase of prostitution has led to a marked reduction in the incidence of prostitution in all its forms, as well as to the reduction of human trafficking. In addition, the studies contradict the claim that prostitution “goes underground” or leads to an increase in sexual violence against women.

The voices of prostituted persons are barely heard. In Israel, few can say they have escaped the living hell of prostitution, or even mention it, because of the lasting, negative perception of women in prostitution. All this suggests prostitution is not an “occupation” like any other. It is an extremely violent life that ruthlessly exploits the body and soul for the gratification of another.

The following is an excerpt from a letter by S., a victim of prostitution:
“The post-trauma I suffer from my days in prostitution is not less than that of a child who was raped all her life. To hear someone say that the inability to eradicate prostitution is a reason to institutionalize it is like saying the inability to eradicate pedophilia is grounds for institutionalizing it.” 

For women in prostitution, suffering daily because of the Knesset’s apathy, time is running out. You have the responsibility and the ability to give thousands of women a chance for a different life.

We call upon you to support the Criminal Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill, and therefore create a more decent, humane Israel for all its citizens.