THE NINETEENTH KNESSET
A bill proposed by the following Members of Knesset
Prohibition of Consumption of Prostitution Services
and Community Treatment (Legislative Amendment) Bill, 5773-2013
Amendment to Penal Law
1. In the Penal Law, 5737-1977 (hereinafter – the Penal Law) –
(1) In section 83, following “82” shall come “85A”:
(2) Following section 85 shall come:
“Treatment of Consumers of Prostitution Services
85A. If a Defendant was convicted of a first offense according to section 206, the Court may impose on the Defendant a probation order for community treatment, in accordance with the court’s discretion. The Court may give an order, as aforesaid, without convicting the Defendant, even if conditional imprisonment, which may be activated by an order, is pending against him, provided that the Defendant has not undergone treatment in the past, in accordance with this section or in accordance with section 62B of the Criminal Procedure Law, 5742-1982 (hereinafter – the Criminal Procedure Law).”
(3) In place of section 206 shall come:
“Prohibition of the Consumption of Prostitution Services
(a) Whoever purchases prostitution services shall be sentenced to six months imprisonment.
(b) If a person has been convicted of an offense pursuant to this section, and the Court did not award compensation to the victim according to section 77, the Court shall specify in the verdict the grounds thereof for the failure to award compensation, as aforesaid.”
Amendment of the Criminal Procedure Law
2. In the Criminal Procedure Law –
(1) In section 62(a), following “there is no public interest in the trial” shall come “or if a police officer instructed such, as aforesaid in sub-section 62B”
(2) Following section 62A shall come:
“Closing a File on an Offense of Consumption of Prostitution
(a) A police officer, as aforesaid in section 62(a)(3), may offer a suspect of an offense, pursuant to section 206 of the Penal Law who has not been suspected of such an offense in the past, to undergo community treatment, provided that there is sufficient evidence that the suspect committed the offense; if the suspect agrees to treatment, has understood the conditions of treatment and the nature thereof and has commenced such – the police officer shall suspend proceedings against him.
(b) If proceedings pursuant to sub-section (a) are suspended and it has been clarified to the police officer that the suspect failed to meet the requirements of treatment, proceedings shall be reinstated; and the police officer may continue them from the point which was reached prior to the suspension of proceedings.
(c) If the suspect has completed treatment and fulfilled the requirements thereof, the police officer shall direct that the suspect not be investigated or prosecuted, as the case may be.
(d) The decision to refrain from investigation or prosecution, as aforesaid in the section, shall be treated as the decision to refrain from investigation or prosecution due to an absence of public interest.
(e) The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, in consultation with the Minister of Justice, shall enact regulations for the implementation of this section.”
The bill proposes to absolutely prohibit the consumption of prostitution services in Israel. In this bill, the Knesset articulates its position that prostitution is fundamentally a negative phenomenon that engenders a severe injury to the respect and liberty of women, the equality of the rights of women in society and a woman’s right to her body. In order to combat prostitution and the trafficking in women, the fight of enforcement agencies against pimps and traffickers is not sufficient, but rather it is necessary to reduce the demand for prostitution and act against the link in the chain of prostitution that has been to date invisible – the prostitution consumer.
Notwithstanding the serious and difficult injury that prostitution inflicts on women who are engaged therein, as well as on society in general, the consumption of prostitution services has been permitted in Israel to date, unless the prostitute is a minor. Nonetheless, in practice, the prohibition of the consumption of paid sex from minors has been rarely enforced as well. The bill seeks to condemn a reality wherein the purchase of sexual services has become common practice, and suggests the amendment thereof in such manner that each client shall be deemed a criminal who may be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.
Nonetheless, out of the conviction that education is the most correct and effective way to contend with this phenomenon, it is proposed to set up a guidance program for clients, to which persons who have been arrested on a first offense will be sent. The program will include a variety of subject matter from the fields of public health, law and justice, as well as lectures by women who have worked as prostitutes in the past and other entities. The program will be operated by non-governmental organizations in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs. Such a program exists in various places throughout the world, such as Canada and San Francisco. A charge sheet will not be filed in respect of the consumption of sexual services for payment against those who complete the entire program and fulfill the requirements thereof. Clients who are arrested a second time in respect of this offense will be unable to participate in the program.
The bill is consistent with the United Nations protocol of 2000, in the fight against human trafficking and the rehabilitation of the victims thereof, which supplements the treaty in the fight against organized crime (Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, 2000), and determines that the demand for prostitution must be fought by legislative, social, educational and cultural measures (section 9(5) of the Protocol).
It should be emphasized that this bill does not seek to deny the augmented gravity of the offense created when a client purchases sex from a victim of trafficking or a woman addicted to drugs, or on the occurrence of an offense of rape and to which, in fact, section 345 (a) (4) of the Penal Law applies, which determines that sexual intercourse with a woman in a state that precludes her resistance constitutes rape and the sentence is 16 years’ imprisonment. Furthermore, section 203C of the Penal Law, which determines that the sentence for a person who purchases sex from a minor is three years’ imprisonment, shall continue to apply. When sex is purchased under these circumstances or another criminal offense accompanies the consumption of prostitution services (such as violence or drug use), the educational program may constitute solely a supplement to the penalty determined in law and cannot come in lieu thereof.
A similar proposed legislation was submitted to the 17th Knesset by MK Zehava Gal-On and others (3992/17/p)
An exact proposed legislation was submitted to the 18th Knesset by MK Orit Zuaretz and others (2580/18/p)
Submitted to the Speaker of the Knesset and his deputies
Tabled on 18 March 2013