Main Menu
Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                               

State of Israel

Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with substantial, though diminishing, government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Israel imports substantial quantities of grain but is largely self-sufficient in other agricultural products. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the leading exports.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Israel

Israel is a destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Low-skilled workers from China, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India migrate voluntarily and legally to Israel for contract labor in the construction, agriculture, and health care industries. Some, however, subsequently face conditions of forced labor, including the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical intimidation.  - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Israel.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Women trafficking to Israel drops sharply

Yael Branovsky, Israel News, 11.11.2007,7340,L-3470269,00.html

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The smuggling of women for prostitution and of drugs from Egypt into Israel has dramatically declined since the IDF has taken over the border nine months ago.

The report stated that no women were caught being smuggled into Israel to serve as prostitutes in the last nine months, but head of the shelter for victims of women trafficking in Israel Ruth Davidovich claimed that some 30 women were currently staying at the shelter, and that most of them were smuggled through the Egyptian border.

The report stressed that despite Israel's substantial efforts, the border remained volatile, with smugglers becoming more sophisticated and using more technologically advanced methods.

When grandma’s caretaker is a debt slave

Simona Weinglass, Times of Israel, 11 February 2016

[accessed 11 February 2016]

There are 55,000 foreign caretakers in Israel. Almost all of them arrived as modern-day indentured servants, owing thousands of dollars to loan sharks and corrupt employment agents. Is anyone taking care of the caretakers?

Very few of the 55,000 Israelis who employ foreign caretakers for their elderly or disabled loved ones are aware of the debt and threats hanging over the heads of the carers they welcome into their homes.

“One hundred percent of foreign caretakers pay brokers’ fees,” says Idit Lebovitch, coordinator for migrant caregivers at Kav LaOved, an Israeli NGO that advocates for foreign workers.

These workers usually earn an Israeli minimum wage of NIS 4,650 a month ($1,198). The brokers’ fees they are required to pay are several multiples of their monthly salary. Most of these charges are illegal in Israel. Nonetheless, they are the norm.

Until recently, an Israeli manpower company was legally permitted to charge a foreign worker a total of NIS 3,400 in placement fees. Today, they are permitted to charge employers only NIS 2,000 upon hiring, and an additional NIS 70 per month. Much of the rest of their earnings, thousands of dollars per worker, allegedly reaches these manpower companies by illegal means, hand-delivered in envelopes or sent through wire transfers into offshore bank accounts.

Critics charge that this is a tale of extortion of people who, desperate to earn money for their families, leave those families, often for years at a time, to provide a vital service in Israel and are being preyed upon without government protection

Peres slams human trafficking in Israel

Ronen Medzini, Israel News, 03.29.2009,7340,L-3694030,00.html

[accessed 14 February 2011]

"The fact that this loathsome disease exists in a Jewish state is a disgraceful stain on the most basic commandments of our legacy," President Shimon Peres said at a state ceremony honoring activists against human trafficking on Sunday evening.

"There is no people that sees liberation – the transition from slavery to freedom – as such a pivotal moment in its history as we do,” said Peres, in reference to the coming Passover holiday.   "There is nothing more outrageous than the oppression of women and coercion into prostitution, than taking cruel advantage of people in need or the abuse of foreign laborers who have no standing or rights."

Human trafficking report: Courts are too lenient

Dan Izenberg, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 11, 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 31 January 2018]

The Hotline for Migrant Workers also reported that the courts did not sufficiently exercise the right to extract compensation from the traffickers for their victims. The court awarded compensation in only 11 of the 17 trafficking convictions in 2006 for a total of NIS 314,000, which was NIS 18,500 less than the previous year.  The courts also do not make sufficient use of their powers to fine traffickers or seize their property, the report stated.

Israeli women being trafficked abroad

The Jerusalem Post, 03/13/2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2019]

While police have struggled to cope with the growing problem of human trafficking through Israel, human traffickers have begun to ship Israeli women to foreign countries, said MK Zehava Gal-On Tuesday. Gal-On also said that the country is unprepared for this new trend.

"There has long been an active ring of people using Israel as a stopping point in the trafficking of women from foreign countries to other foreign countries… what we are seeing now is Israeli women themselves being targeted and shipped to other places," Gal-On said.



The Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW) - 03-560-2530

[accessed 19 August 2014]

The Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW), established in 1998, is a non-partisan, not for profit organization, dedicated to (a) promoting the rights of undocumented migrant workers and refugees and (b) eliminating trafficking in women in Israel.  Call  03-560-2530


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Israel

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 11 June 11, 2021]


Migrant and Palestinian workers in agriculture and construction and women migrant domestic workers were among the most vulnerable to conditions of forced labor, including bonded labor, domestic servitude, and slavery. NGOs reported some vulnerable workers experienced indicators of forced labor, including the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on freedom of movement, limited ability to change employers, nonpayment of wages, exceedingly long working hours, threats, sexual assault, and physical intimidation, partly as a result of lack of adequate government oversight and monitoring.


The government generally enforced the law and conducted year-round inspections to identify cases of underage employment, with special emphasis on summer and school vacation periods. Penalties for child labor violations were not always commensurate with those for analogous serious crimes. During the year authorities imposed a number of sanctions against employers for child labor infractions, including administrative warnings and fines.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Israel remains a destination for human-trafficking victims, and African migrants and asylum seekers residing in the country are especially vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking. The government works actively to combat trafficking and protect victims. Israel’s roughly 88,000 legal foreign workers are formally protected from exploitation by employers, but these guarantees are poorly enforced. About 18,000 foreigners work in the country illegally. Histadrut has opened membership to foreign workers and called on employers to grant them equal rights. Discrimination against and exploitation of Palestinians from the occupied territories working in Israel remains commonplace.

Israel Put Up Women For Sale In A Bid To Curb Female Trafficking

VR Sreeraman, Medindia Health Network, October 24, 2010

[accessed 14 February 2011]

In a bid to draw attention to female trafficking in Tel Aviv, Israel, around fifteen women were put up for sale in a shopping mall of the country.

The display, which had been sponsored by the Israeli Task Force Against Human Trafficking, saw real women being put on exhibition with price tags ranging from 5,500 dollars to 11,000 dollars, though the sale was not real.

Maya Speer, attorney and human rights activist, pretended to be "Sophia", and wore makeup that made her look like she had a black eye to highlight the cruelty that trafficking also generates towards women.

Police arrest 12 in raid on Israel's largest human-trafficking ring

Yuval Goren, Haaretz, 09.03.2009

[accessed 14 February 2011]

At the end of a two-year international investigation, 12 Israelis were arrested yesterday along with over 20 suspects in several other countries.

The investigation was assisted in large part by a former criminal, who was recruited as an undercover agent and infiltrated the trafficking ring on the police's behalf. He recorded dozens of conversations among the suspected gang members, including some in which Saban allegedly ordered physical violence against, and even murder of, women who refused to work as prostitutes.  The gang allegedly recruited thousands of women from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Uzbekistan by promising them work in Israel as waitresses or dancers. The women were then flown to Egypt, and from there they were smuggled across the border by Bedouin.

Trafficking and Forced Prostitution of Palestinian Women and Girls: Forms of Modern Day Slavery [PDF]

Sawa, June 2008

[accessed 1 February 2018]

INTRODUCTION -- In the oPt, although the information about the topic is very scarce and it is still considered as taboo within the Palestinian society, the problem is not completely new and the deteriorating political and ensuing socio-economic situation may be contributing to its rise. For the first time, people have chosen to break the silence and speak out and this briefing paper can be seen as a first step to start answering the need for protecting women and girls victims of trafficking and forced prostitution in the oPt.

A SMALL SCALE ACTIVITY -- despite the fact that trafficking and prostitution constitute illegal activities in the oPt, reality shows that they exist and that they appear to operate informally on a small-scale basis rather than as a sophisticated and organized activity.

Based on the cases identified by this study, girls and women are being facilitated through escort services, brothels in hotels, rented houses, private apartments and even house cleaning companies. There exist many of these locations though they differ in modus operandi, structure and management.

Rescued: Jewish Mom, 8 Children, After 17 Years as Muslims

Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 07/18/2008

[accessed 14 February 2011]

After a 17-year captivity to an abusive Muslim husband, a Jewish mother and her eight children were rescued Sunday from the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.  Yad L'Achim, an organization dedicated to solving problems of this type, freed Naama [not her real name] from imprisonment in her own home and almost two decades of fear, shame and violence. Seizing a window of opportunity – her husband was in prison and his brother under house arrest – her liberators wove through the narrow alleyways of the Muslim Quarter to deliver her to safety.

Jewish Wives Are Arab Husbands' Prey

Mayaan Jaffe, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 11/22/2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The stories of pain and torture chill every bone in my body. Trembling, I sit before half-a-dozen women in the Lev L'Achim rehabilitation center for battered women, learning about how they lost their independence, lost their happiness, lost their lives. These women have been rescued from the misery of life in their husbands' Arab villages.

"I Was Silent and I Was Alone" - First in a Series

Mayaan Jaffe, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 11/18/2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

"If you complained you were beaten," Esther weeps. "He would yell and then he would hit. If I said something to make him angry: beating. If a neighbor looked at me the wrong way: beating. If I opened the door for a male neighbor: beating. If I didn't do something or prepare something the way he wanted: beating. There was no speaking. There was no help with the children. If the children were sick: nothing. I was alone. I was silent and I was alone."

He told her he couldn’t make it financially and that they would have to move to his Arab village over the Green Line. Several children and hundreds of bruises later, Esther knew it was time to go. She says she did an accounting of her life, looked at how she and her children were living and knew she must escape before it was too late.

´He Was Taking Over My Mind´ ? Second in a Series

Mayaan Jaffe, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 11/23/2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

"There was always violence, always humiliation" says Miriam [not her real name], who spent 12 years with a Palestinian-Arab, the last four in his village over the Green Line in southern Israel. "First he would hit me with his hands. Then he moved on to using small objects, and finally iron rods and a metal rake. He broke all of my teeth with the rake and then refused to give me any medical attention."

When Israeli Women Marry Arab Men: Third in a Series

Mayaan Jaffe, Arutz Sheva Israel National News, 12/01/2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 31 January 2018]

Aliza met her Arab lover via the internet, and like most girls in her situation, she was promised the world in exchange for a Muslim conversion and a marriage license. Less than one year later, she was left beaten and betrayed. Almost a statistic, Aliza spent all the money she had ($250) to take a cab to the Erez Crossing, and with the help of the rescue organization of Lev L'Achim, she reentered Israel proper and left her life in the Arab "prison" behind. She immediately relocated to America for safety reasons, where she continues to undergo psychological treatment, attempts to obtain a divorce from the Muslim court, and puts her affairs in order.

Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking

Fadi Eyadat, Haaretz, 17.12.2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

In a precedent-setting ruling yesterday the Haifa District Court yesterday sentenced two Haifa men to jail for trafficking in humans for the purpose of harvesting their organs.

Allan and Zakhalka admitted that at the end of 2006, they persuaded Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment. They located their victims by placing ads in the newspaper offering money for organ donation. According to the indictment, the pair gave false information to the donors, and also pressured and threatened them to give up their kidney. After the surgery, Allan and Zakhalka did not pay the donors as promised.

Allan and Zakhalka were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon, Dr. Michael Zis, who also worked at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. According to the indictment, Zis sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000, of which Allan received $10,000 dollars. The State Prosecutor's Office is preparing an extradition order against Zis, who is being held in prison in Ukraine.

Combating human trafficking

Tova Ztimuki, Israel Activism, 11.30.2007,7340,L-3477492,00.html

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The plan calls for providing housing solutions to victims; establishment of a rehab facility for victims who suffer psychosocial and medical problems; employment services and translation services. Medical services will be provided by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Services. The Social Services. Ministry will allocate NIS 4.2 million ($1.1 million) to fund the plan.  The project's initiators said that the motivation is strictly humanitarian: "the victims of human trafficking, slavery or prostitution in Israel deserve protection and care."

NGOs warn against plan to increase Russian visas

Ruth Eglash, The Jerusalem Post, Oct 23, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

However, Russia is considered a transit destination for trafficking operations, with many men, women and children from neighboring countries arriving there before being transported elsewhere.  Egypt has no visa requirements for Russian visitors, and its border with Israel is considered to be a main entry point for human traffickers.

A spokesman for Aharonovitch told the Post zthat the minister was aware of the problems of human trafficking in Israel and that the issue needed to be tackled; however, he added that there was little connection between the trafficking and the cancellation of visa requirements for Russian visitors.  He also said that the number of women arriving from Russia was much lower than those from other countries and that countries with border policies stricter than Israel's still had to contend with women and men being smuggled in for illegal work purposes.

Shelter tries to rehabilitate victims of human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Tel Aviv, 5 September 2007

[accessed 9 March 2015]

Foreign women who are victims of trafficking can now get support at a special shelter - the Maagan shelter - in Tel Aviv dedicated to cater for their needs.  In 2002 the Israeli government, in an attempt to encourage these women to testify against the people who bought and sold them, decided to offer them work visas in return for sworn statements detailing their tribulations. The visas run until one year after the end of their trials.

Women protest Ha'aretz sex ads

The Jerusalem Post, 08/16/2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 31 January 2018]

TFHT filed a report in June demanding an investigation into the paper and its owner, Amos Schoken. The advertisements in question offer the services of prostitutes, while other ads call for women to work in prostitution in Israel or abroad.  According to TFHT head Roni Aloni Sedovnik, advertisements related to prostitution are far more expensive than standard ads and therefore could not be the initiative of prostitutes advertising privately. The ads could only be funded by wealthy organized crime syndicates, she maintained.

Freedom of expression, Sedovnik said, "is subservient to a person's right not to be enslaved ... By giving a stage to pimps and other human traffickers, [the paper is allowing] organized and efficient trading in trafficking victims." The ads "make the paper complicit in the crime," she added.

Israel's fight against sex trafficking

Raffi Berg, BBC News, Jerusalem, 6 November 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

CHANGING TACTICS - Campaigners say things began to change for the better in 2004, when the government opened a shelter in north Tel Aviv for women who had been trafficked for sex.  It marked a change in the way the state perceived them - as victims of a crime rather than accomplices.  There are some 30 women at the Maggan shelter - most from former Soviet states, but also five from China.

Police say their actions have led to a significant drop in the number of women now being trafficked into Israel for sex.

Ukrainian national says employer raped her, confiscated passport

Tamara Traubmann, Haaretz, 13.08.07

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Two years ago, S., 47, came from Ukraine to work as a domestic in the home of an Israeli businessman. The employment company abroad that contracted her told her she had "nothing to worry about," with respect to her new boss. However, according to S., her employer - a resident of a wealthy Tel Aviv suburb, who works at a foreign consulate in Israel - withheld most of her salary, took her passport, did not let her leave the house unless he was with her, and raped her. In many cases, S. says, her employer's friends who came to dinner or parties sexually molested her, and one of them also raped her.

Today, the police, who are concluding their investigation of S.'s charges, are arranging a confrontation between the suspect, who has denied any wrongdoing, and the alleged victim. According to the suspect's lawyer, Yehoshua Resnick, S. made up the whole story to avoid deportation.

Eight Israelis charged with trafficking human organs

Russia Today RT, 24 July, 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Israeli police have broken up an organ transplanting ring that persuaded dozens of Israelis to have their kidneys removed in Ukraine. But, because Israeli law does not explicitly forbid the trafficking of organs, police may have to release the suspects.

It’s not difficult to become an organ donor. Ads have appeared in both the Russian and Arabic press. Dozens of people are believed to have been duped into donating their body organs.  We are co-operating with the Ukrainian justice system. In Ukraine and Israel, there is no law that a person cannot sell body organs. But what police are charging is that they were trafficking organs, which is illegal,” said Lizzy Troend, defence lawyer.  Israel allows transplants from relatives or anonymous donors, but the law forbids anyone to buy organs. - IsUkr

Sex slavery: Israel’s low but thriving trade

Emma Sabry

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Rachel Benziman the legal advisor to the Israeli Women’s network backed up Menuhin’s words by explaining how difficult it is to find witnesses. “It's not a problem of finding the right section in the criminal code. It is more a problem of finding the women who will testify and finding the motivation”, Benziman said, according to Reuters.

What’s more shocking is that, since 1994, no single woman has testified against any trafficker. Many say this could be attributed to the fact that although women are the victims here, trafficked women are the ones usually arrested as illegal workers, while the men who brought them to Israel, who are usually Israeli, are not.

Virtual pimps may pay the price

Ofri Ilani, Haaretz, 03.07.2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

In December 2000, Zohar set up the Escort Plus Web site, which featured the details of women who could be ordered for paid sex. Zohar received a commission on every order from the site, which was deducted from the fee paid by the clients.

The enterprise, however, did not end there. In 2001 Zohar began traveling to European countries to hire young women. He housed them in apartments in Israel and "marketed" them via the Web site. The indictment details how he purchased two Ukrainian women from a man named Igor, and two Moldavian women from a man named Pasha.

U.S Orthodox rabbis urge Israel to crack down on human trafficking

Haaretz, 31.05.2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

A prominent organization of U.S. Orthodox rabbis has called on Israeli authorities to step up their fight against trafficking in women, urging "action to put an end to this shameful practice by whatever legal means necessary."

The statement of the Rabbinical Council of America, the rabbinic authority of the Orthodox Union and a partner organization of Israel's Chief Rabbinate, cited Knesset statistics reporting that "some 3000-5000 women in Israel are currently enslaved, in violation of Israeli law, as prostitutes as a result of human trafficking."

The RCA stated that it was taking the position, in part, because "Judaism affirms the right of each individual to a life of personal freedom, dignity and a duty of national holiness, particularly regarding sexual conduct" and because "our Torah stresses no less than 36 times the overarching importance of treating the stranger with compassion and kindness."

The group also noted that Israel's Declaration of Independence emphasized that the state "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.

Brothel owner sentenced to five years in jail for human trafficking

Fadi Eyadat and Ruth Sinai, Haaretz, 06.05.2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

In 2002 Reizin, who was the owner of a Haifa brothel, reached an agreement with the owner of an Acre brothel to sell him a prostitute in return for a part of his establishment's profits. Reizin later sold the Acre brothel two more women for $10,000.

The women were forcibely held and required to have intercourse with some 25 clients a day. They were paid NIS 50 daily. In November 2002 they managed to escape.

National Geographic Slave to Bias

Chana Shavelson, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America CAMERA, October 3, 2003

[accessed 14 February 2011]

National Geographic’s September 2003 article by Andrew Cockburn entitled “21st Century Slaves” fails to mention the world’s leading human-rights and slave-trafficking offender, Sudan, while unfairly highlighting with a double-page photograph Israel’s relatively insignificant prostitution rings.

Though forced prostitution in Israel is a grave problem, its scale compared to the extensive abuses elsewhere hardly merits the attention National Geographic gives it. By contrast, the omission of Sudan, a country that has enslaved and exploited an entire people in its southern region, is inexplicable.

Unlike the other countries discussed in the article, with the exception of the United States, Israel has significant anti-prostitution legislation it enforces

Analysis: Israel has stepped up the fight against human trafficking

Dan Izenberg, The Jerusalem Post, 03/13/2007

[accessed 23 April 2012]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

Gershuni's office researches matters related to human trafficking, represents Israel in international forums dealing with the problem and is now waiting for the chance to get the state to prosecute traffickers according to the new legislation. Until now, there have been a fair number of indictments and convictions in trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, but none regarding the new forms of slavery recognized by the recent legislation.

"Our first cases must be extreme, so that they will guarantee convictions," she told the Post, adding that the courts will have to learn to discern between slavery indictments and lesser charges of work exploitation.

Government drafts national plan for combating human trafficking

Ruth Sinai, Haaretz, 21.02.2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The government has drafted a national plan for combating human trafficking for the purposes of slavery and coercion, including steps in the areas of enforcement, prevention, and protection.

The purpose of the plan is to eliminate the phenomena of holding migrant workers in slavery conditions, through forced labor, coercing them to provide sexual services or collecting large sums of money from workers.

Israel hosts human trafficking seminar

Israel Today Magazine, December 14, 2006

[accessed 14 February 2011]

In October, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed a bill banning human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor.

“We are talking about an innovative and revolutionary law, which deals harshly with traffickers of people and body parts,” said Zahava Gal-on, member of Knesset. “The law will provide law enforcement officers better tools to combat the phenomenon.”

There are an estimated 3,000 women in Israel, according to Amnesty International, involved in trafficking rings and Israel wants to help these women, many of whom are victims of extreme violence.

Knesset passes human trafficking bill

The Jerusalem Post, 10/18/2006

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Knesset approved a law to strengthen and broaden laws against human trafficking.  The bill, which was drafted by MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and supported by the government, increases the time served for involvement in human trafficking to 16-20 years. It also broadens the definition of trafficking in men, women and children.

Gov't, NGOs still find time to fight against human trafficking

Ruth Eglash, The Jerusalem Post, 07/30/2006

[accessed 23 April 2012]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

Despite the current war on the home front, government officials and representatives of the US Embassy and the US State Department took time out of their busy schedules last week to discuss practical recommendations for how to address sex trafficking and labor trafficking in the country.

3 arrested on suspicion of human trafficking

The Jerusalem Post, 06/06/2006

[accessed 23 April 2012]

Tel Aviv Police succeeded in tracing the steps of the group after spotting a notice published in a Russian language newspaper advertising employment in Canada for "young, beautiful girls."

Israel among worst human traffickers

Ruth Eglash, The Jerusalem Post, Apr 25, 2006

[accessed 23 April 2012]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

Tal Eisenberg, the organization's legal advisor and coordinator for the center's Fighting Against Trafficking in Women project told The Jerusalem Post, "It is excellent that the United Nations has recognized that there is such a problem in Israel. I hope that we can learn from the report and that the government will now take more notice of the problem." She said that many countries did not even know that trafficking takes place within their borders and that Israeli rights organizations had made great progress in combating the problem.

Meet Svetlana

Arik Diamant, Israel Opinion, 03.08.2006,7340,L-3225396,00.html

[accessed 14 February 2011]

But perhaps in honor of International Women's Day, let me introduce the woman you'll have such a good time with tonight. Here's 10 things you never knew about her.

1. Her name is Svetlana. Like most whores, she's from Eastern Europe. She's 22-years-old.

2. Misha, Svetlana's boss, bought her for 5,000 dollars from an Egyptian Mafioso who smuggled her across the border tied to a camel after he and his friends "checked her out" to see if she was worth the effort.

Women leaders gather in Israel to combat crime of trafficking

Roberta Neiger, Israel21c, November 13, 2005

[accessed 14 February 2011]

"The committee set itself a goal to serve as watchdog over the authorities and has compelled the state to act in accordance with international standards," said Gal-On. "Today women are treated as victims of a crime, and as people whose human rights have been breached. Those who traffic and pimp in the bodies of women are treated severely."

Art exhibit takes behind scenes look at Israeli sex trade

Talya Halkin, The Jerusalem Post,               Sep 8, 2005

[URL has been lost] … sorry]

[accessed 16 March 2011]

The distressed expression on the face of an anonymous woman peering out from behind a barred window in a Tel Aviv building triggered curator Revital Ben-Asher Peretz to launch her own private investigation behind the scenes of the Israeli sex trade.

Trafficking in Israel

Task Force on Human Trafficking

[accessed 19 August 2014]

Israel is a destination country for human trafficking. Women and children are brought into the country every year to be exploited as modern day slaves.

Rates of human trafficking in Israel are alarmingly high though the exact extent is not known. Nearly all of the trafficking victims in Israel come from the former Soviet Union . Most victims enter the country through Israel ’s border with Egypt . Once in Israel , victims are often sold and resold to pimps and brothel owners who force them to work in slave-like conditions. At every stage in the process, the victims are abused and exploited, often suffering severe beatings, rape and even starvation.

Israel has made limited progress in the fight against human trafficking but more can and must be done. Significant resources must be dedicated to combating trafficking in Israel in the areas of prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Bad Traffic

Jerusalem Post, September 5, 2005

[accessed 14 February 2011]

With approximately one million visits to prostitutes each month, the Israeli sex "industry" generates an estimated billion dollars a year, Gal-On reveals.  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared last month that this "despicable phenomenon completely contradicts Jewish tradition and the values of dignity."  Yet, despite repeated criticism by the State Department and human rights organizations, Israel has not established a central authority to cope with the problem.

With approximately one million visits to prostitutes each month, the Israeli sex "industry" generates an estimated billion dollars a year, Gal-On reveals.  Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared last month that this "despicable phenomenon completely contradicts Jewish tradition and the values of dignity."  Yet, despite repeated criticism by the State Department and human rights organizations, Israel has not established a central authority to cope with the problem.

Subject:  Israel & International - August 16 - Moment of Silence for Trafficking Victims; International Day Against Trafficking

[access date unavailable]

On August 16, it will be five years since two trafficking victims from the former Soviet Union were burned to death in a brothel in Tel Aviv. The tragedy occurred because the women were locked in the house and had no way out, which is common in the trafficking business. There are also three other known cases of deaths of trafficking victims in Israel: one woman from Ukraine and two others from Russia. In memory of the harrowing event that took place on August 16, 2000, the Israeli Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has proposed to proclaim this date as the International Memorial Day for Trafficking Victims.

Briefing to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women - June 2005

33rd Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee), 5-21 July 2005: Comments by Amnesty International on the compliance by Israel with its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)

[Last accessed 30 August 2011]

[accessed 1 February 2018]

TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS (ARTICLE 6) - Amnesty International published a report on the trafficking of women into Israel's sex industry in 2000.  Trafficking of women for forced prostitution has occurred over a number of years but appears to have been compounded in the past 15 years by several factors, including increased links between traffickers in Israel and former Soviet republics, in the wake of the large wave of immigration of citizens of these countries to Israel, following of the break-up of the Soviet Union.  These combined factors seemingly resulted in an increase in the vulnerability of women from this region to trafficking, and in an increase in the demand for such sex workers in Israel.

Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Prostitution: The Israeli Experience

Rochelle Gershuni, Mediterranean Quarterly - Volume 15, Number 4, Fall 2004, pp. 133-146

[accessed 19 August 2014]

THE CHANGE IN ATTITUDE TOWARD TRAFFICKING - With time, as the phenomenon became more prevalent, and its distinguishing characteristics were identified, the attitude changed. Law enforcement agencies began to focus on trafficking as a serious crime distinct from prostitution offenses, and victims began to be viewed first and foremost as victims rather than illegal immigrants. As a consequence, a specific trafficking offense was legislated, law enforcement authorities began to initiate investigations, victims were encouraged to testify against traffickers, and courts began to detain traffickers until the conclusion of the criminal trial against them and to mete out more severe sentences.

Israel Women Trafficking Soars

BBC News, 24 March, 2005

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Between 3,000 and 5,000 women have been smuggled into Israel in the past four years to work as prostitutes, according to a parliamentary inquiry.  The report described how the women are sold at public auctions for as much as $10,000 and forced to work up to 18 hours a day.

Russian Girls Eager To Work Abroad, Despite The Danger Of Sex Trafficking

Pravda, 31.03.2005

[accessed 14 February 2011]

It is really difficult for such girls to escape when they reach Israel; many of them appeal to the Russian Embassy for help. However, as correspondents of the Novye Izvestia newspaper learnt in Tel-Aviv, people connected with recruiters of sex slaves stand close to the Embassy in wait for fugitives and do not let them escape.

Interior Min. to expel 15 prostitutes who testified against pimps

Ruth Sinai, Haaretz, February 07, 2005

[accessed 19 August 2014]

According to the charge sheet against her procurers, she was sold at a Tel Aviv parking lot to the owner of an escort agency, where she worked without being paid, ostensibly to pay for her travel expenses.  The young woman cooperated fully with the police and the prosecution, and provided evidence concerning several suspects. As a result, she has received threats and is scared to return to the Ukraine. She also tried to sue Sholkin in a labor court for not paying her, but withdrew her lawsuit after her family - including her 10-year-old half-brother - was threatened.

Sex slavery rife in Israel

Agence France-Presse AFP, Jerusalem, 2005-03-24

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Thousands of foreign women have been smuggled into Israel and sold into prostitution, earning the criminal underworld millions of dollars a year, a parliamentary investigation has found.

US Faults Israel on Human Trafficking

Nina Gilbert, The Jerusalem Post, June 23, 2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The 2004 report was discussed on Tuesday in the Knesset Committee of Inquiry into Women Trafficking. Committee chair Zehava Gal-On (Yahad) backed the conclusions of the 2004 report on treatment of victims, saying that a shelter was opened in February that can house 50 women, but has taken in only 23 women who are waiting to testify in sex slavery cases.  All the rest of the women are being held in prisons without any assistance while awaiting deportation, Gal-On said.  Gal-On also noted that the report found that the Internal Security Ministry has issued only seven visas to victims, which has forced most of them to go back into prostitution.

National NGOs report to the annual UN Convention on Human Rights: Evaluation of National Authorities activities and Actual facts on the Trafficking in Persons for the purpose of prostitution

Nissan Ben Ami & Leah Gruenpeter Gold, UN Commission on Human Rights, 60th session, April 2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

INTRODUCTION - Legally speaking, the State of Israel can be considered as an abolitionist country that signed and ratified the UN Convention of December the 2nd, 1949.  Until 2001 in fact, the State of Israel was leading a policy of laissez-faire that drove to a kind of reglementarism. Since then a considerable change of attitude of the authorities towards the phenomenon of Trafficking in women has occured. Unfortunately prostitution per se is still not perceived as a problem by the authorities. This situation is also reflected by the attitude of the media.  The tendency is to see trafficking in women as a serious crime that needs to be erradicated whereas prostitution, mainly local, is still considered as a victimless crime.

Prostitution in the Land of the Maccabees: Trafficking in Women in Israel

Charlotte Honigman-Smith,, Jewish Family & Life! (JFL), February 1, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Today, the prostitute in Tel Aviv is more likely to be named Olga than Rachel, and she's not an Israeli, or in Israel legally. She's one of the more than 2,000 to 2,500 women from former Soviet republics brought into Israel by international traffickers to feed a $450 million-a-year prostitution industry centered around Tel Aviv. The money paid for her body goes to the man she's been sold to. Assault and rape are common ways of keeping "employees'"in line in this business, and the only way a woman will leave Israel's sex industry is if she comes to the attention of the Israeli authorities who will deport her, penniless and traumatized, back to Eastern Europe.

Human trafficking in Israel: a "meat market" [DOC]

Ellis Shuman, Israelinsider,  August 18, 2004

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid said this week that there are as many as 3,000 prostitutes in Israel today, many of whom have been "imported" into the country against their will. In a statement released to mark the fourth annual, locally-organized "Fight Human Trafficking" day, Lapid wrote that most of the women were tricked into coming to Israel from their homes in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The women are no better than slaves to the men who control them, Lapid said. Many of the women were recruited by the Russian mafia, transported to Egypt, and then smuggled across the border into Israel by Bedouins.

Israel a Human Trafficking Haven

Fox News, Tel Aviv, August 18, 2004,2933,129157,00.html

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2019]

Human trafficking (search) is turning into a real problem in Israel, where law enforcement officials say women are bought and sold into the indentured servitude of the sex industry.  The women in question are usually from the former Soviet Union (search) and are traded by the Russian mob (search). The same Bedouins who smuggle weapons into Israel bring the women up through the Egyptian desert, oftentimes with a load of weapons.  "It's a kind of meat market. It's very brutal — most of this kind of auction," said Gadi Eshed of the Israel Police.

Women As Commodities: Trafficking in Women in Israel 2003

Nomi Levenkron, San Francisco Independent Media Center, Dec. 22, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

In 2001, the USA stepped up its involvement in fighting the trafficking of women worldwide, threatening to cut off economic aid to countries failing to combat the phenomenon within their borders. This threat suddenly became tangible when Israel was ranked in the group of countries failing to take steps to eradicate trafficking in women. The U.S. warning succeeded in effecting changes in the states threatened with sanctions. However, in Israel, the struggle to eradicate trafficking has barely begun, and most authorities do not live up to their declared principles. Sometimes their operations amount to no more than a sham - a case of lip service only. As this report will show, efforts to combat trafficking in women in Israel are still not proportionate to the extent of the phenomenon and the gravity of the offense.

Fighting the flesh trade

Marion Marrache, The Jerusalem Post, 11-30-2001

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

[scroll down]

According to a report issued by the International Abolitionist Federation, an estimated one-fourth of these women are unaware that they will be working in the sex trade, believing instead they will be employed as waitresses, cooks, au pairs, models or masseuses. None are prepared for what they eventually encounter. Most suffer beatings and repeated rape. The women are viewed and bought at pimping auctions - during which they are forced to undress - at prices ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.

According to attorney Nomi Levenkron of the Migrant Hotline, those who fetch the lower prices end up working in the slum area around Tel Aviv's old central bus station. Their passports are taken from them, and they are often kept locked up in apartments with barred windows.

Report slams Israel on sex slavery

Associated Press AP, December 8, 2002

[accessed 14 February 2011]

About 3,000 women, mainly from the former Soviet Union, are sold each year into Israel's sex industry, which takes in about $1-billion (U.S.) annually, a parliamentary report said Sunday, slamming the country's justice system for being lax on punishments.  The women, seeking to escape poverty at home, are usually smuggled in by traffickers who promise them legitimate jobs. Once in Israel, they are sold to pimps for between $3,000 and $6,000 each, the preliminary report said.

Israeli courts generally reach a plea bargain with the pimps and sentence them to either a few months of community service or up to an average of two years in prison, punishments which the committee said are too weak to serve as deterrents.

Four die in Tel Aviv brothel attack

Suzanne Goldenberg in Jerusalem, The Guardian, August 16, 2000

[accessed 11 July 2013]

Police in Tel Aviv are hunting a serial arsonist attacking the city's sex industry after the horrific death of four women, locked inside a brothel which was set on fire overnight.  The attack, said by social workers to be the sixth of its kind in a week, added to the debate on the increasing traffic in women for prostitution by Russian and Israeli gangs, and the appalling treatment they suffer.

Traffickers' New Cargo: Naive Slavic Women

Michael Specter, The New York Times, Ramle Israel, June 11, 1998

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Irina always assumed that her beauty would somehow rescue her from the poverty and hopelessness of village life. A few months ago, after answering a vague ad in a small Ukrainian newspaper, she slipped off a tour boat when it put in at Haifa, hoping to make a bundle dancing naked on the tops of tables.  She was 21, self-assured and glad to be out of Ukraine. Israel offered a new world, and for a week or two everything seemed possible. Then, one morning, she was driven to a brothel, where her boss burned her passport before her eyes.

"I own you," she recalled his saying. "You are my property, and you will work until you earn your way out. Don't try to leave. You have no papers and you don't speak Hebrew. You will be arrested and deported. Then we will get you and bring you back."

Europe's sexually exploited children: coming home

United States Embassy Stockholm, August 27-31, 1996

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

In 1994 a 16-year old girl was deported from Israel back to her home country on the grounds that she was in possession of a false passport. It transpired that she had been taken to Israel and forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. During her stay -- just three weeks -- she served some 200 men and US$3.000 changed hands.  The girl was not from Thailand, the Philippines or Nepal. She was not from Brazil or Colombia or the Dominican Republic. She was not from any of the countries which have featured in the media over the last six years, since ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) first began its pioneering work with media and governments to put the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children in Asia onto the public agenda.  The girl was from Lithuania. She was European.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Israel remains a destination for human-trafficking victims, and African migrants and asylum seekers residing in the country are especially vulnerable to forced labor and sex trafficking. The government works actively to combat trafficking and protect victims. Israel’s roughly 77,000 legal foreign workers are formally protected from exploitation by employers, but these guarantees are poorly enforced. About 17,000 foreigners work in the country illegally. Histadrut has opened membership to foreign workers and called on employers to grant them equal rights.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law guarantees foreign laborers legal status, decent working conditions, health insurance, and a written employment contract; however, some employers forced individual laborers who entered the country, both legally and illegally, to live under conditions that constituted trafficking. While law enforcement agencies have successfully prosecuted employers for labor law violations, including for violations that were tantamount to trafficking, they have not severely penalized labor agencies for trafficking because legislation does not make trafficking illegal if it is for purposes other than prostitution. There were numerous documented cases of foreign laborers living in harsh conditions, subjected to debt bondage, and restricted in their movements.

Organized crime groups trafficked women, primarily from the former Soviet Union, sometimes luring them by offering service sector jobs. Foreign workers came mainly from Southeast Asia, East Asia, Africa, Turkey, Eastern Europe (Romania), and South and Central America. Some traffickers reportedly sold foreign-origin women to brothels, forced them to live in harsh conditions, subjected them to beatings and rape, and forced them to pay for transportation costs and other "debts" through sexual servitude. According to local NGOs, during the year traffickers brought between one thousand and three thousand women into the country for prostitution. The government reported that during the year, 59 trafficked women resided in the "Maggan" Shelter, and an additional 128 trafficking victims stayed in the detention facilities. The government estimated that at least 682 more women met the basic criteria to be classified as cases of trafficking victims even if they did not so admit.

In October, 2 NGOs claimed there were 200 thousand foreign workers in the country and that 20 percent of these workers were trafficking victims. During the year the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor (ITL) revoked 185 permits to hire foreign workers, opened 1,220 files against employers suspected of violating foreign worker employment laws, and imposed 8,356 administrative fines on employers. Also during the year, the ITL filed 208 criminal indictments against employers, including manpower companies, for violations of labor laws and won 38 judgments against violators.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Israel",, [accessed <date>]




Hotline for Foreign Workers

97 Allenby St. P.O. Box 16

Tel - Aviv 61000, Israel

Tel: +972-3-5602530

Fax: +972-3-5605175



ELEM :Youth in Distress - Israel

Kehilat Saloniki #7

Neot Afeka, Tel-Aviv 69513, Israel

Tel: 972-3-6470049, Fax: 972-3-6470319


ISHA L`ISHA - Haifa Feminist Center

47,Hillel Street

Haifa 33727

Tel: +972-4-8530159, Fax:+972-4-8511954



Kol Ha-Isha - The Woman`s Voice

38 Ben Yehuda St.

P.O. BOX 37157

Jerusalem 91371

Tel : +972-2-6222455, Fax: +972-2-6256187