News/ISRAEL: JERUSALEM POST - AMNESTY - ISRAEL FAILING TO DEAL WITH WHITE-SLA

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Subject: News/ISRAEL: JERUSALEM POST - AMNESTY - ISRAEL FAILING TO DEAL WITH WHITE-SLA
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 13:32:21 EDT


5-22-00 ISRAEL: JERUSALEM POST - AMNESTY - ISRAEL FAILING TO DEAL WITH
WHITE-SLAVE TRADE.
By DAN IZENBERG AND HEIDI J. GLEIT.
Israel has failed to take adequate measures against human rights abuses
committed against women who have been brought here and forced to provide
sexual services, Amnesty International charged in a special report on the
trafficking of women from the former Soviet Union.
"This is so," the report continued, "even though many of them have been
subjected to human rights abuses such as enslavement or torture, including
rape and other forms of sexual abuse, by traffickers, pimps, or others
involved in Israel's sex industry."
Amnesty International also criticized Israel for not providing a procedure
to grant asylum to women who have been smuggled into the country often on
the basis of false promises of work having nothing to do with sex.
Fighting the trade in women and bringing foreign women here to work as
prostitutes is a priority for the Israel Police, but it is a very difficult
phenomenon to fight, police investigations head Cmdr. Yossi Sedbon said
yesterday.
One of the main problems is that there is not a law against selling women,
he explained, adding that he is aware of the initiatives to pass such a law
and hopes they are successful.
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin told Amnesty International representatives
yesterday that Deputy Attorney-General Yehudit Karp is preparing an
amendment to the Penal Law which would address the trafficking phenomenon
and provide immunity for trafficked women. He predicted that the
legislation would be presented to the Knesset at its winter session.
According to Amnesty International, hundreds of women are brought to Israel
from the former Soviet Union every year.
According to Amnesty International, Israel is bound by international law
and by international covenants that it has signed to stamp out the sex
trafficking.
Police are arresting suspects on related charges such as kidnapping,
pimping, raping, and assaulting the women, Sedbon said.
The other major problem is that the women are scared to file police
complaints and testify against the pimps, he said. Since most of them are
in the country illegally, they are scared to approach police. Fear of
reprisal by the pimps further paralyzes them. Police try to get around this
both by promising to protect complainants and by initiating operations to
collect evidence against and raid brothels, he said.
An additional complication is that prosecutors need the women who complain
to testify in the court cases against the pimps, which can be months after
the initial complaint is filed. Since the women are here illegally and
there is a chance that the pimps will harm them if they are left to their
own devices here, they have often ended up sitting in jail until the trial
is completed.
Sedbon said that they now try to send the women home and bring them back
here for the trial.
Sedbon declined to comment on the complaints filed against Afula police
chief Ch.-Supt. Shlomo Marmelstein and Tel Aviv police chief Cmdr. Shlomo
Aharonishky for not acting against the problem, saying he could not comment
on specific cases.
Sedbon emphasized that the issue is a priority for police and that each
police district's serious crimes division is dealing with the problem.
Statistics police released earlier this year show an increase in the number
of cases opened against pimps: 279 in 1997; 370 in 1998; and 506 in 1999.
Sedbon also said that only a minority of the foreign women working here as
prostitutes are kidnapped and forced into prostitution.

MIDDLE EAST INTELLIGENCE WIRE
JERUSALEM POST, THE 22/05/2000


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