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.