Women’s Rights: Israel To Become 10th Country To Criminalize Hiring Prostitutes

Israeli legislators are set to pass a bill—before parliament is dissolved and elections are officially scheduled—that will make it the 10th country in the world to criminalize hiring sex workers, rather than bar the practice itself. Estimates peg the number of people involved in the sex trade in Israel at nearly 15,000, a fifth of whom are believed to be minors. According to the Welfare Ministry, over seventy-five percent of Israeli prostitutes—whose average lifespan is only 46 years old—would leave the country if they had the means to do so. The prospective law will fine a first-time offender about $500 for procuring a prostitute and double that amount for each subsequent transgression. A legal path also will be offered so that potential victims of sex-related abuses can press charges against their offenders, who may then be forced to pay a penalty of up to $20,000 and possibly enter educational “schools” run by the Justice Ministry. Concurrently, the Israeli government will allocate nearly $25 over the next three years towards the rehabilitation of prostitutes. The law is based on the so-called “Nordic Model” that was first implemented in Sweden two decades ago and has since been emulated by nations such as Canada and France.

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