News: Israel Prostitution Ring Targeted

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Melanie Orhant (
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 14:25:39 -0500

Israel Prostitution Ring Targeted
December 23, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli police announced Wednesday they had uncovered a
crime ring that forced illegal immigrants from Ukraine into prostitution
and crime.

Gang members working in the Ukraine forged passports from Jewish couples
who did not intend to go to Israel and gave them to other couples, police
spokeswoman Linda Menuhin said.

When those couples arrived in Israel, they would be forced to work for the
gang, with the women being pressed into prostitution. The crime ring also
fraudulently collected government subsidies meant for new immigrants to

On Wednesday, police arrested a man and woman in the northern city of Haifa
for links to the gang. The woman had been trying to flee the prostitution
ring, Menuhin said.

She said more arrests were expected.

Stories about sex slavery in Israel began surfacing shortly after the mass
immigration of Soviet Jews began in 1989, which eventually brought nearly
800,000 newcomers to Israel.

Russian-based crime gangs used the influx as a cover to sneak in an
estimated 10,000 prostitutes over the past decade. The sex trade in Israel
has grown into a $450 million-a-year business, with women often finding
themselves virtually enslaved by crime bosses.

Melanie Orhant

Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590

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