Battle for Dignity and Freedom

Prostitution in Israel is legal. It is a massive industry consisting of roughly 12,500 prostitutes, 95% of who are women and 10% of whom are minors, performing 1,000,000 sex transactions every month, amounting to NIS 1.5 billion in annual revenues. The average age of entry into prostitution in our country in 14 years old, and these women are subjected to constant humiliation, dehumanization, violence, rape and sexually transmitted diseases resulting in severe mental illnesses and premature deaths. The rate of murder of prostitutes is 40 times higher than the average population. This is modern day slavery whereby human beings are objectified, purchased for certain time periods and become completely subject to the whims and perversions of abusive men. This is evil and must be stopped.

I believe Israel has a calling to be a light to the nations. We are certainly doing so today in the realm of technology and medical advancements, but failing terribly when it comes to ethical and moral issues such as sex slavery. It is time that our nation outlaws prostitution. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice stands at the forefront of the battle to legislate the Criminalization of the Client Law, and to restore dignity to tens of thousands of Israel’s mothers, sisters and daughters.

As part of our public awareness campaign, we had the honor this week to discuss women’s rights and the Criminalization of the Client initiative to an 11th grade class at a high school in Jerusalem, where my daughter Noam is enrolled as a student. We were able to bring a woman who formerly worked as a stripper into the classroom to tell her story. After complaining to the police about being raped twice by her pimp and receiving an answer along the lines of, “what do you expect, you’re a stripper?”, this lady decided to cease being handled as an object, to fight against the evils of the sex industry, and to warn the next generation of its inherent dangers. Today, she is completing a degree in communications and political science at the Hebrew University after which she will work for the IDF’s press corps. Her testimony of hope brought tears to the eyes of many students and created a lively dialogue.