Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Israel: Traffickers Target Israeli Girls to Replace Foreign Sex Slaves

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- At the start of the new century, Israel found itself with an unexpected and unwanted reputation - as a destination hotspot for sex trafficking. The government took significant measures against this phenomenon, but the success in stamping out the import of women for sex has led to a new problem.

From the security of her Tel Aviv office, Yedida Wolfe dials a number at the bottom of a newspaper advertisement that reads, in Hebrew: "Looking for young liberal women for easy work at great pay!!" The phone is answered by a man named Yossi. He explains that the type of work was sex; Yedida would get to choose with whom, how often, and under what conditions.

"You will have complete control," Yossi tells her. The pair arrange a time to meet.

Wolfe is the Executive Director of the Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT). She chose the advert at random from dozens of others just like it that appear daily in a major classifieds supplement published across Israel's major cities.

Until 2007, thousands of women each year were trafficked into Israel for sex, mostly from the former Soviet Union. They were subjected to violence, rape, and public auctions, and forced to have sex with up to 20 men per night, often without any pay.

NGOs and government officials, however, achieved a measure of success two years ago in liberating and rehabilitating the foreign women, frequently identifying them via their missing papers. Many of those saved from the sex trade were subsequently replaced by Israeli women...


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