What did the women think they would be doing in Israel?
“We had a baby this year, he’s now seven months old. I didn’t work, I just took care of the baby. My husband would bring us food once a week. When he stopped coming, I didn’t have anything to eat. My milk for nursing had dried up and my baby was hungry. I was in despair. My sister told me that there are people who arrange cleaning work and that I would earn $1000 a month. I thought that with a salary like that, within six months I’d be set for a few years. If I had known that I was to be sold into prostitution in Israel, I would have prefered to die of starvation with my baby. ”
– HA from Uzbekistan, 14.01.2003
Crossing the Egyptian Border with Israel
“When we arrived at the border, we stopped beside a peach orchard. The Bedouins hosted us, served us tea. We sat there about an hour, until they began physically forcing us to provide them with sexual services. Each time they took a different woman to the side and forced her to provide sexual services, and even raped her.”
– Lena, originally from Moldova
“They lined us up one after the other. They counted us like sheep. Afterwards I found out why – for every girl who passed they received a thousand dollars. We walked like that for half an hour. Sometimes we sat, sometimes we ran, one time they told us to lie down. It was in March and the sand was cold. We arrived at a wire fence and they told us to climb over it. On other side a jeep was passing and they told us to climb in. But the jeep didn’t stop. It continued driving and we had to jump into the jeep as it was moving. They covered us with canvas and there wasn’t any air. Some of the girls lost conciousness. ”
– From Protocol #20 of the Parliamentary Investigative committee, 26.12.2001
“I was promised that I would work in Israel as a dancer. Once I arrived in Egypt, I discovered that I was going to work in prostitution at a base in Eilat. I tried to run away but a Bedouin caught me and hit me. In the evening, four Bedouins raped me one after the other…after the second one I couldn’t feel anything. They kept coming back for a few rounds. I lost conciousness and woke up only in the morning in a tent with other women. The women tried to support me and said that the Bedouins had brought me to the tent half-naked and told them to take care of me. I was bleeding and couldn’t walk because of the pain between my legs…I wanted to die. I didn’t believe it was happening to me. The other women carried me until we reached the border. ”
– YB, interviewed in Kishon detention center in Haifa, 15.04.2002
Sale, trade and/or kidnapping of the victims:
“They tested us, touching our chests. They asked me if I had ever given birth, yes or no. In other words, what interested them was our bodies…”
– Lena, originally from Moldova
A trader of women tells: “They stand her naked in the middle of the room…they touch her chest, her behind, to see if there is what to grab. They check her tongue, her teeth, to see if she’s healthy. They touch her intimate parts…they tell her ‘walk forwards, backwards, make a model pose, shake sweetheart, bend over. Lower. Let’s see what you’re worth. Dance. Like a belly dancer.’”
– Makover Sheri, “Blue and White Works”, Maariv Newspaper, 14.06.2002, p. 16
“I didn’t understand where they were taking us in the middle of the night, but when I saw in the apartment many naked women I started to understand…they asked me to undress…I was so scared I even peed in my pants.”
– HA’s testimony, 14.01.2003, Tel Aviv
“He took me to the room and explained to me that they have to teach me to work, since I had never worked as a prostitute. He put on a porn movie and instructed me to give him a blow job. I refused but I had no choice. Afterwards he ordered me to sleep with him. I didn’t want to. He said I had to, otherwise he’d return me and they’d sell me to a much worse place. I was forced to do it. When I left the room crying, he brought in the girl who’d passed the “lesson” that morning.”
– AN, 02.07.2003, undisclosed shelter
“They invited me to a hotel in Tel Aviv. In the room three men were waiting for me. They forced me to go down to the parking lot with them and put me into the trunk of the vehicle and drove off. I didn’t know where, but later I found out that I was taken to Haifa, and they told me that a certain person was my new owner. The same man explained to me in our first conversation that he doesn’t buy women, just steals them, and from now on I would work for him.”
– AK, 18.11.2001, Neveh Tirzah jail
The daily schedule of a trafficking victim:
“He would arrange around 25 clients a day for me. I had to prepare food for him. If I didn’t prepare meat for him, his favorite food, he would yell at me and beat me. When I returned home, exhausted from all the clients, he would usually say to me, ‘It doesn’t matter how many clients you had today, I’m always the last client.’ Every night he would come to my room and rape me. He loved to hear me scream in pain. ”
– VB, sold to an individual in Nazareth Elite; 11/09/2002, Kishon Detention Center, Haifa
“I arrived in Israel at age 18 to work in cleaning. They sent me to work in prostitution, 18 hours a day. The allotment was 30 customers a day. Not less. If I received even one client fewer, they would beat me, but in a way that I wouldn’t have signs, because clients don’t like to see a woman who has bruises on her.”
– CT from Moldova, 25/11/2002, Kishon Detention Center, Haifa.
“One day a client arrived. The wife of the pimp said I should do everything so that he wouldn’t ask for his money back. I started to put a condom on him and he objected. I was afraid of the wife of the pimp who threatened that they’d sell me to a place like this where I would need to repay a debt for a year. With no choice, I did it. ”
– VG from Moldova, Testimony given 12/2/2003 in an undisclosed shelter.
Fines and “Debt Slavery”:
“I arrived at the hotel, but the client wasn’t in the mood and asked me to return back to the base. I cried and begged that he woudln’t do that, because the pimp will think the client wasn’t pleased with me and I’ll get a fine He told me not to worry, he called the base and explained that I wasn’t guilty and asked that they not give me a fine. Just because of this thing, that I told someone that we get fined, they gave me a fine of 3000 dollars. ”
– AK from Ukraine, Neveh Tirzeh jail, 14/04/2002
“The pimp (female) explained to me from the beginning that I don’t get to rest during my period, because I owe them a lot of money and it will take me a very long time to repay the debt. She gave me a diaphragm and explained to me how to use it to stop the bleeding. One day I was with a client and I had an especially heavy period. I started to bleed and the client got angry and started to shout at me. After he left, the (female) pimp came in and I hoped she’d allow me not to work until the end of my period. Instead of that she screamed at me for 20 minutes and told me next time to use two diaphragms instead of just one.”
– MP, citizen of Moldova, 07/01/2003 at the detention facility in Hadera
“The (female) pimp paid us just 10 shekel per client. She said that she wouldn’t waste even a grusch on us and she only loses (money) because of us. She forced us to participate in orgies together with other girls when clients requested it and said she’d go bankrupt if she had to pay us more.”
– YM, interviewed on 15/04/2002 in Kishon Detention Center in Haifa
Verbal and physical violence against victims:
“He started to curse me that I’m a good-for-nothing, that I can’t do anything, that I can’t say a word, that I’m a slut. I came here just to work[…] He always berated me that I don’t do good work, that I only have a few customers, that at any moment I might run away from the place […] As to the question of what they told me about girls who run away, I respond [that he] told me that if a girl runs away, they find her, lock her up in a closed building that she can’t leave, without food, and he also told me that with this girl they can do whatever they want, to beat her, to murder her, that noone would ever find her […] He told me that with other customers I have to have sex in exchange money, but he has the right to sleep with me for free.
“I want to say that he’s a scary man. He not nice to women. He yells, doesn’t let us sleep, loads work on us and only lets us eat once a day. He hit Svetlana and didn’t let her go to the bathroom for five hours because she said to him ‘who are you anyway’ […] She was Victor’s and worked with Moshe with me and Lena on loan. Moshe would force women to have sex with him and threatened them that if they didn’t agree he’d sell them.
– In Foreign Parts, pg.101
“They hit me and were cruel to me. Especially at the beginning. It was really crual. Once they strangled me, once they sunk my head in the toilet bowl. When they hit you and you have blue bruises. You have to put a special cream on it so that you can’t see the bruises, but the pain remains, of course.”
– In Foreign Parts, pg.101
“When I said that I wanted a doctor they laughed at me. After a month they brought a doctor and I told him that I haven’t been getting my period for three months already. The doctor asserted that I was pregnant and made me an appointment for an abortion. I said that it couldn’t be because I was careful. He insisted and said he felt the fetus, and demanded 1000 dollars from me. I objected and they brought me to him by force, but to my good fortune that day my period came back. Afterwards I found out that the doctor who checks women in the base is a veterinarian.”
– AR, 13/06/2002, undisclosed location
So why doesn’t she run away?
From court cases:
“When one girl named Yanna complained and refused to take clients, the accused drove her to the sea and threatened her that he’d drive her to Georgians and then “ you’ll see what bad is ”. At the sea Accused 2 showed Yanna the pillars that were on the breakwater and threatened that he’d tie her to the pole, that he’d leave her there all night and in the morning would decide whether to drown her. Following this threat Yanna ceased her objection to work in the base. ”
In one case it was said about the accused: “He imprisoned the women, locked them in the apartment, took the key with him, and they were left there without any way to contact the outside world.”
Were there women who succeeded in escaping despite it all?
Did they dare testify against the traffickers?
Olga: I searched for someone to talk to, and I found a Russian client who aroused my trust. He would take me for a few hours and let me sleep a little. He brought me a cell phone and told me to hide it. He promised me that he’d help me escape. And I decided that I could trust him. I didn’t live in the base, I lived in Yori’s apartment. Every day Yori would bring me to the base and bring me back to his place. But I didn’t know the address, I just chanced across a scrap [of paper] with it. I gave it to that client, and he called me one day on the phone and said “tomorrow at 10 am, jump from the window ad we’ll come and pick you up.” And that’s what happened: I jumped from the window, it was on the second floor, and a guy in the car came and brought me to… There was another girl in the car and there was also a chase – they tried to block the car we were driving in but they didn’t succeed. The guy that smuggled me out took me to his place. I lived with him for a while and he told me that I can do whatever I want – if you want, work, if you don’t want, don’t work, I’m not forcing you to do anything. Yori called me then, I have not idea how he got my phone number, and threatened me that if I didn’t come back to him he would murder my daughter in Kiev. I was very afraid and already planned to return to him, but then the guy who helped me escape calmed me down and told me that he’s just trying to scare me, that he won’t do anything. He told me that he himself was a former policeman and convinced me to complain to the police. I complained, and they arrested Yori. Afterwards, I gave testimony in court and he got a year in prison. Now he’s already out, free.”
– In Foreign Parts, pg.93-94
The pimps are probably men from the Russian Mafia, right?
“An 18-year-old victim of women’s trafficking resided in the house of a family in Afula. She shared a room with the four-year-old son of the couple. In the morning the father of the family would drive his wife to work, his son to kindergarten, and the woman to her clients all over the city.” – Levenkron and Dahan Report, pg. 33
Wondering about the future, thoughts about the past:
Alona: “If I could to turn back the clock, I would wish that I wouldn’t have anything like this on my soul, because this thing damages your soul for the rest of your life, noone can heal it, no medicine and not all the money in the world.”
– In Foreign Parts, pg.95
A girl who was brought to Israel when she was 17, who succeeded in escaping after a rather lengthy time from the hands of her purchasers, begs: I’ve had enough of being illegal, I want to study something. I want to work in normal work. And it’s not working for me. Everywhere I go to work the owner says to me, “You’re Russian and all the Russians are prostitutes, so sleep with me, and if you won’t sleep with me then you can’t work here.” It’s happened to me in a lot of places, not just one place – and the people who speak to me that way are adult, with wives, kids. I don’t get it. And once, when they let me work, they didn’t pay me in the end. I worked for a month and a half in a wedding hall – hard work, I washed dishes, cleaned, and the owner knew from the beginning that I didn’t have documents, and in the end he said that without documents he couldn’t pay me, and it turned out that I worked all that time and didn’t earn anything. Other people suggested to bring me back to the base and that I would work in [prostitution]. Everyone wants to put me back in that dirty work, and it really offends me. I want to live a normal life, to get up in the morning and to know what I have to do.”
– In Foreign Parts, pg.95