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.”
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.
On February 14th the Task Force on Human Trafficking conducted a seminar for Tel- Aviv Municipality employees about the massive dissemination of business cards advertising prostitution in the city. These cards are strewn across nearly every sidewalk and auto windshield in Tel-Aviv. Although advertising sexual services in Israel is illegal, Tel-Aviv minors on bicycles are paid 100 shekels for every sack of business cards they spread across the city.
As stated by the Tel-Aviv Municipality, the purpose of the seminar was “…to gain a deep understanding of the problems and importance of this phenomenon.” The seminar included presentations from Gili Varon, Director of TFHT, Reut Guy of Elem/ Youth in Distress, and Neama Rivlin, the Executive Director of Saleet, a shelter that assists women who are exiting prostitution.
“There was a great spirit of cooperation at the seminar,” remarked Varon. “The Municipality and non-profits have finally come together to learn about and combat this phenomenon.”
In honor of International Women’s Day, the Task Force on Human Trafficking hosted a film screening and panel discussion about sex trafficking and prostitution. The event was held at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and featured The Price of Sex, a courageous documentary by photojournalist Mimi Chakarova. The film tells of tens of thousands of young Eastern European women trafficked throughout the world. It also addresses why the international community has allowed this to happen.
At the event, the Task Force recognized former Knesset Member Orit Zuaretz as a leader in the fight against sex trafficking and prostitution in Israel. TFHT was proud to present Zuaretz with ATZUM’s Ot HaDror Award which recognizes leaders who strive to abolish modern slavery. Throughout her four years in the Knesset, MK Zuaretz worked tirelessly to confront the evils of trafficking and prostitution in Israel. In addition to chairing the Knesset’s Subcommittee in Trafficking in Women, Zuaretz also sponsored and laid the foundations for the eventual passage of the Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services and Community Treatment Bill, a bill that criminalizes the purchase of sexual services to help eradicate the demand for trafficking and prostitution in Israel.
TFHT is pleased to announce that on December 19, Professor Gail Dines will present a lecture entitled “How Porn Creates the John: Porn, Trafficking and the Social Construction of Masculinity” at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus. The lecture will take place in The Faculty of Social Sciences Building room 3202 beginning at 2:30 PM. The Task Force on Human Trafficking and The Lafer Center for Women and Gender Studies are hosting the event.
Professor Dines is Professor of Sociology and Women Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, MA. An internationally acclaimed speaker, she is the author of numerous articles and books, including her most recent work Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality.
For more information, please contact Rebecca.
ATZUM is proud to announce that collaborator Y&R Israel was awarded the 2012 Effie Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Advertising earlier this month for developing the ‘Women To Go’ awareness campaign for the Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT), a project of ATZUM and the law firm Kabiri-Nevo-Keidar.
The ongoing campaign, which seeks to raise public awareness about sex trafficking and prostitution in Israel by exposing these corruptions of human dignity in a public space, features models posing in a storefront as “merchandise” complete with price tags and product information. Volunteers stand outside to inform startled passersby how they can participate in the campaign against sex trafficking. [Read more…]
On July 1, ‘Women to Go’ made its debut in North America. The Task Force on Human Trafficking with the help of event organizer, Phyllis Nutkis, brought the campaign to Evanston, Illinois. Women to Go forcefully confronts society with the evils of trafficking and prostitution by exposing these underground crimes in a public space. During a Women to Go event, women with price tags are placed in a storefront as if for sale, while volunteers explain the demonstration to passersby.
The event in Evanston focused on Backpage, a classified advertising site with an adult section. “There’s a tremendous number of ads that look like they’re for individual women offering their services, but really most of those are placed by pimps,” explained Phyllis. At the event, Phyllis and her volunteers collected 609 signatures on a petition urging Backpage to discontinue advertisements for sexual services.
The event was hosted by Williams Next Door, a small family owned women’s boutique. In addition to providing TFHT with the space, Williams Next Door also donated 10% of their sales that day to the campaign. Zoe Lembeck, one of the store’s owners, explained, “As soon as we heard about this, we jumped at the chance to be a part of it. We loved the creative presentation along with the informative and pragmatic side of it. Being part of this event feels exciting and relevant as a woman, and as a business owner.”
Although Phyllis hails from Chicago, she is one of TFHT’s most active volunteers. In addition to staging Women to Go Phyllis is also a lobbyist for Project 119. Phyllis credits her family who “…were always fighting for social justice,” with making social action an integral part of her everyday life. “I’ve been hearing about ATZUM’s work for years, and it’s inspiring. I always wanted to be a part of what ATZUM does, and this was something I could do.”
Organizing the event was at times challenging, though Phyllis maintains the “right person with the right skills would find it manageable.” She explains, “The rewards are many – meeting and working with dedicated, interesting, passionate volunteers; learning all kinds of new skills you didn’t know you had; and most of all knowing that you’ve done something really good and important in the world.”
If you are inspired by Phyllis’ success and want to contribute to the fight against human trafficking, host a Women-to-Go event in your community. To find out more, please e-mail Rebecca.
The Task Force on Human Trafficking debuted as Women to Go in Tel Aviv in October 2010. The daylong event considerably raised public awareness about proposed legislation to criminalize the purchase of sexual services in Israel. Shalmor-Avnon-Amichay/Y&R, an Israeli advertising agency, designed the campaign for TFHT. The success of the Tel-Aviv event inspired TFHT to export Women to Go to different cities.
Allow us to introduce you to the ‘Jewish Tooth Fairy Fund,’ ATZUM’s newest initiative. The project is focused on providing a full range of dental services to Israeli survivors of terror attacks and their families who cannot afford the treatments and have no access to dental insurance. Survivors of terror attacks often require dental intervention as a result of their injuries. Additionally, many terror survivors who have reached advanced age require dentures they cannot afford, while those of any age often have teeth negatively affected by their long stays in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities and suffer pain and poor self-image as a result.
In each of these cases, ATZUM serves as an address to which these individuals can turn for financial and practical assistance in obtaining the dental care they so urgently require. However, we need your help to make the Jewish Tooth Fairy Fund a reality. [Read more…]