On December 31st, 2018 the Israeli parliament voted unanimously to pass the Prohibition of the Consumption of Prostitution Act.

The Act is a part of an integrated process which includes expanding the existing rehabilitation services for survivors of prostitution as well as creating new educational programs for the public. The Act states that the consumption of prostitution is a criminal offence which will be enforced by an administrative fine on the consumers.

In accordance with the demands of the Coalition Combating Prostitution, the Act was passed in conjunction with an additional governmental budget of 90 million NIS for the rehabilitation of survivors of prostitution. In order for the various government agencies to make the necessary preparations and reinforce the existing rehabilitation services, the Act will go into effect 18 months after the date it is published.

The Act states that any person who consumes or attempts to consume prostitution, and any person who is present in a place that is used exclusively or in part for prostitution with the purpose of consuming prostitution, is breaking the law and may be fined a fine of 2,000 NIS. For a repeat offence, the fine is doubled to 4,000 NIS. Furthermore, the Act allows the prosecution to file an indictment and level a fine up to 75,300 NIS and open a criminal record for repeat offenders under certain circumstances.

It should be noted that the Act does not apply to survivors of prostitution and they are not fined, arrested, or prosecuted under criminal law for their involvement in prostitution.

In the future, the government will create regulations that will allow a fine to be substituted for an educational course intended to raise the awareness of prostitution consumers to the devastating affects of prostitution on woman and to prevent repeat behavior.

וועדת חוקה (4)The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution, along with the Coalition Combating Prostitution and Parliament Representatives which all worked diligently to pass the Act.

The Nordic Model

In 1999, Sweden passed legislation to criminalize the purchase of sexual services. This legislation, known as the Nordic Model, understands that the most efficient way to combat sex trafficking and prostitution is to reduce the demand for paid sexual services.Legislation based on the Nordic Model has proven itself to be an effective deterrent to potential sex buyers. Iceland, Finland, and Norway have adopted the Nordic Model and have witnessed significant declines in all forms of prostitution, including sex trafficking and child prostitution. Recently, the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee recommended that the European Union adopt the Nordic Model.

What is the Nordic Model? (an brief explanation from Equality Now website)

Legislative Models for Addressing Prostitution

In an attempt to regulate prostitution, several countries have legalized it. Germany, Holland, and parts of New Zealand and Australia have adopted this approach. However, all these countries have subsequently witnessed a vast increase in sex trafficking and other forms of prostitution, including the prostitution of minors.

Though Holland legalized prostitution in 2000, only 1,000 of the country's estimated 30,000 prostituted persons were able to meet the legal criteria to become licensed sex workers. Moreover, the government and non-profits reported a steep rise in illegal forms of prostitution, especially child prostitution.

Germany legalized prostitution in 2001. In 2010, government officials reported sex trafficking into Germany had increased drastically. The increase was attributed to legalization, which made Germany a more attractive market to traffickers and pimps.
You can read more information here and here.

Prostitution is legal in New Zealand and parts of Australia. In Queensland, Australia (where prostitution is legal) it was found that 90% of the prostitution was illegal, and that legalization had only served to strengthen and enrich pimps and managers of brothels. Prostituted people in New Zealand reported that legalization hadn’t protected them from violence, and women’s organizations expressed their concern over the many young girls who continue to enter into prostitution. You can read more information here.

It has been demonstrated that prostitution cannot be regulated, and that legalization does not bring emancipation to the women and men trapped in the sex trade. Legalization turns pimps into managers and businessmen and sex buyers into clients, and legitimatizes the abuse of those in prostitution.

By legalizing prostitution states declare that it is acceptable to purchase the bodies of some women (usually poor and marginalized women), and this attitude contributes to creating a cultural of prostitution that negatively affects the progress of all women.

Need more reasons to support the Nordic Model?
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution – Professor Janice G. Raymond

Resources

Israel

Select Findings from National Survey on Prostitution, 2016

Demand

Why should we focus on the clients and not the prostituted persons?

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Sex buyers come from all segments of society!

The Growing Demand for Prostitution – Newsweek

Need more reasons to support the Nordic Model?

Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution – Professor Janice G. Raymond

Important Websites

Prostitution Research and Education – This site calls for the eradication of prostitution and for providing prostituted persons with viable alternatives.

Machon Todaa – This site provides visitors with up-to-date information about prostitution in Israel.

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – This site gives an overview of prostitution and sex trafficking around the world.

Office of the National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator – The Office of the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator operates in several arenas, and continues to broaden its scope of action to meet the demands of the ever-changing battle against human trafficking.

Find out more about Human Trafficking Go »Trafficking in Israel
Find out more about Trafficking in Israel Go »
Find out more about the Chain of Trafficking Go »

FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions about Human Trafficking Go »