Passover and Freedom in Israel

This Pesach Israel is on the verge of adopting the Nordic Model and becoming an international leader in the fight against sexual slavery. Hopefully the Knesset will take time during the holiday to reflect not only on the Jewish history of slavery of oppression, but to think about the bondage that thousands of Israeli women and children are living in. Pesach is the celebration of the freedom that the Jewish people were granted, and advocating for the freedom of others is the best possible way to rejoice and observe this holiday.”

Author Rebecca Hughes recently published an update about trafficking in Israel in the blog The Times of Israel.  The quote above is from her article.  Read more

The G-d  Who said, “Let My people go, that they may worship Me”  is  serious about His hatred of unjust forced slave labor and of the pain of today’s trafficking.

If you celebrate Passover, take time to remember and pray for those who are still in bondage.

Yeshua said (quoting Isaiah 61) , “The Spirit of the L-rd G-D is upon me, Because the L-RD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 2To proclaim the favorable year of the L-RD And the day of vengeance of our G-d; To comfort all who mourn in Zion….”

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Help for Israel is working with “Freedom Foundation and Freedom Fund”

Help For IsraelHelp for Israel (“Quarters for Quarters”) is working with Freedom Foundation and Freedom Fund in Israel to provide various forms of assistance to women escaping from human trafficking and prostitution.  We specifically are using the gifts you send to provide safe shelters in Israel, rehabilitation help, and some legal counsel at times to women who need help and a safe place away from the abuse they have endured as they walk away into a new life away from trafficking.

“A” (our Israeli contact) recently sent the following information.

Since 2009, Freedom Fund has offered free legal aid for trafficked women in shelters and continue to advocate for those who have few rights as victims. They specialize in researching and locating fruitful projects and organizations and partner to fund and promote their anti-trafficking activities.

There are those who assist women and their children as they leave prison or shelters and start a new life while others go into the dark places to offer hope. We know of several new Israeli shelters to begin in 2014 and we plan to help support their work. Over the last few years we assisted in joint projects with JIJ to create media projects and events that educate the Israeli society and leaders, and called for new laws, enforcement and funding for rehabilitation.

SEX TRAFFICKING FACTS (from Freedom Foundation):

  • 15,000 foreign women plus thousands (an unknown number) of local Israeli women and children are currently prostituted within Israel
  • An estimated 35,000 teens are homeless with at least 1000 youth runaways regularly prostituted/trafficked
  • 1 million transactions for sex services per month in Israel (in a population of 3 million men)
  • $680 million a year is made in sex industry/prostitution alone, primarily by organized crime
  • The average age of those entering prostitution in Israel is 13-14 years.
  • “Customers” are approximately 25% religious Jewish Orthodox/ 25% Arab/ 25% foreign workers/10% general population / 15% tourists
  • Trafficking is no longer fueled by new foreign women but has shifted now to a local domestic youth crisis.
  • 90% of all sex workers have suffered childhood sexual abuse
  • Recent surveys report age of entry into prostitution is as low as 11 years old
  • 17% of Israeli children/teens report being sexually abused repeatedly [over 400,000 children] in 2013.
  • 86% of Israeli youth report viewing porn regularly! The set up is in place for the next generation to be groomed for a life of prostitution, addiction and victimization.
  • President Shimon Peres just stated, “Child abuse is the worse possible sin. We cannot accept that every fourth child in Israel has suffered sexual abuse.”

“AT RISK” CHILDREN FACTS (future sex trafficking victims– according to Ynet article– see Links)

  • HALF OF ALL Israeli children report being victims of sexual and physical abuse (1.2 million children) in new 2013 study
  • The National Council of Children estimates that some 462,000 children (17.6% of all children) have experienced sexual abuse. Right now 96,000 teens ages 12-17 report systematic sexual abuse.
  • 150,000 children and teens are living in temporary institutions waiting for foster families
  • Only 2,200 licensed foster families exist – helping only 2% of the children who are waiting

Please watch the Anti-trafficking video co-produced by “A” in Israel and shown at the Knesset and Hebrew University in 2012/2013 for a better understanding.
Thank you for your heart to pray, care, and give to benefit  women and children  in Israel who long for Tikkun Olam– the restoration of the world and of their own lives.

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Summer 2013 Update

“Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling, and we will never subjugate it to the narrow demands of the day.”
~Condoleezza Rice

Quarters for Quarters, also known as Ezrah L’Israel (Help for Israel), is a ministry to help women who are escaping and recovering from the atrocities of human trafficking – a serious problem in Israel. We give our “quarters” (or checks are welcome, too) to provide “quarters” for women needing a safe place to recover. Funds from this ministry help provide these women with a place to live off the streets and Words of Life to heal their spirits. Donations to this ministry since it began in Houston in August 2009 are being used by to give hope and safety to those who have been trafficked. 100% of the money given to Quarters for Quarters is sent to JIJ to help the women who are escaping and recovering. Lives are being transformed as you pray and give.

Advocating for Justice in Israel

From the JIJ website: “The trafficking of men, women, and minors for forced labor and prostitution is an alarming phenomenon that has ravaged the State of Israel. Urban centers such as Tel Aviv and Haifa have served as destinations for these victims, absorbing thousands from nations with devastated economies and staggering unemployment rates. Searching for means of survival, many are trafficked from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus, China, and the Philippines.

In recent years, a decrease in international trafficking into Israel has only been met by an alarming increase in the number of Israeli victims (particularly women) sexually exploited within its own borders – a crisis observed, yet often neglected by law enforcement and the government. Countless cases testify that victims are physically or psychologically coerced into this form of modern-day slavery. An estimated 80% of prostitutes are victims of human trafficking. The industry’s clientele is comprised of religious and non-religious men as young as 11 years of age up to the elderly. Reports suggest that the industry annually generates a total of one billion dollars with an average of one million visits to brothels per month.

Project NOA (Not Objects Anymore), initiated and managed by Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), combats this phenomenon and provides assistance to victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation through legal representation, legislation, and education. While providing legal services for individual human trafficking victims, JIJ also works on a national level by lobbying in the Knesset and drafting legislation to heighten legal restrictions of the local prostitution industry. Partnering with other advocacy organizations such as Isha L’Isha and Freedom Foundation, JIJ provides education, support services, and financial assistance to victims and their children.”

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Good News from Israel!

Three Israelis supsected of human trafficking.

Photo by Rami Shlush Three Israelis suspected of human trafficking.


According to a new report by the US State Department, Israel is at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking.

In its “The Trafficking in Persons” Report released late last month, the State Department upgraded Israel from a “Tier Two” to a “Tier One” status, which places Israel in a group of 32 states around the world that the US regards as actively fighting human trafficking.

This latest upgrade is all the more significant given that, since the 1990s, Israel has been a hotbed for human trafficking, particularly in the form of prostitution and forced labour.

The large-scale immigration of former Soviet Union citizens to Israel in the 1990s brought with it both trafficking gangs and a new group of women vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

New laws and a greater urgency on the part of the government on the issue have propelled Israel to the new US ranking.

The report was full of praise for the Israeli government’s work in tackling trafficking, commending the government’s “sustained strong law enforcement actions against sex trafficking and strong overall prevention efforts during the year”.

The report also commended Israel’s 2006 Anti-Trafficking Law, which has led to the conviction of 15 sex traffickers.

Improvements have also been reported in the identification and protection of trafficking victims, victim support and medical treatment.

The report also highlighted two government facilities for trafficking victims, the Maagen and Atlas shelters, which granted free legal aid to 54 possible victims of trafficking in 2011.

For Israeli officials, the upgrade is welcome at a time when Israel’s treatment of foreigners has come under strong criticism.

For national anti-trafficking co-ordinator at Israel’s Ministry of Justice, Rachel Gershuni, the upgrade is overdue and should have happened two years ago, when many improvements to human trafficking had already been made.

Nonetheless, the report said: “The Israeli government has continued to grapple with the influx of foreign migrants and asylum seekers” and cites the “the government’s improved procedures in Israeli prisons to identify trafficking victims among this large group of victims.”

This report was a rare piece of praise for a country constantly under attack.

“We didn’t do this to satisfy the State Department,” said Ms Gershuni.

“We did it because Israel thought it was the right thing to do.”

Please continue praying for freedom and justice for those who are being exploited 

and for courage and strength for Israel’s leaders to continue to fight this great evil. 


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Happy Hookers?

(Article not appropriate for children.)

Calev Myers practices law in Jerusalem as a Partner at Yehuda Raveh & Co Law Offices, and serves as the Founder and Chief Counsel of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, an NGO that advances Civil Rights, Freedom of Religion and Social Justice in Israel

The term “yellow journalism,” refers to sensationalized news stories, usually consisting of factually inaccurate articles, which employ exaggeration and shock value to embellish the truth: anything and everything to increase newspaper sales. The truth is that most of us like reading yellow journalism (otherwise we would not read newspapers) and yet simultaneously we vocalize our disgust for the medium (out of self-righteousness of course). Contrary to yellow journalism, another form of journalism exists: let’s call it “black journalism.” This unique form of communication fabricates completely bogus stories, solely to serve the agenda of organized crime and the underworld.

In my opinion, there is nothing more indicative of black journalism than the articles that have recently appeared in major Israeli newspapers describing prostitutes as women who supposedly chose the profession voluntarily. For lack of a better term, let’s call them “happy hookers.” In one such article, a woman is described as having graduated with a degree in nuclear engineering from the Weizmann Institute and upon receiving her academic title, decided to begin working as a prostitute. Why, you ask? Simply because she enjoys the occupation and feels that it gives her self-worth. After all, freedom of occupation is a fundamental right in the State of Israel-so, why not?

Another common story portrays a Hebrew University law student (on the Dean’s List of course) who is struggling financially and therefore decides to work as a prostitute to cover her tuition and living expenses. According to the article, she does not intend to make a career out of prostitution and insists that the moment she finishes studying, she will quit her job as a prostitute and begin working as an attorney.

The percentage of those reading these articles is relatively high. Why? Simple. They are about sex, and after all, sex always sells. Yet the stories in these articles are far from the daily experience of prostitutes and flagrantly distort the truth, lacking factual accuracy and breaching the basic ethics of journalism. I therefore, doubt that newspaper ratings and sales are the sole drive behind their publication. This is undoubtedly the product of a well-oiled public relations scheme. As readers, we should strive to uncover the true objective behind any article; and in my opinion, there are several apparent motives behind the publication of this type of blatant misinformation.

First, there are those who want us to believe that prostitutes actually enjoy providing sexual services in exchange for money. This agenda hides the fact that most prostitutes suffer from physical and psychological trauma and feel disgusted with themselves and their clients (so disgusted that they scrub themselves raw after every workday). Men, believe it or not, she is not providing you with sexual services because you are good-looking in her eyes, or because she is sexually attracted to you. You are just another one of her many clients – another means to obtain a bit of money to continue supporting unhealthy habits, which help her escape from her sad reality.

Second, there are those that want men to think prostitutes are ordinary citizens who are strong, healthy, and content. They do not want men to know or think about the empirical truth: most prostitutes are addicted to drugs, under the influence of narcotics while providing sexual services, and many times carriers of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases.

Third, someone wants men to believe that most prostitutes purposefully chose the profession and even gave up other lucrative occupations to pursue prostitution. However, statistically 90% of prostitutes have suffered from childhood sexual abuse, a trauma that causes a lowered sense of self-worth and has brought them to the point of self-loathing and masochism. Even worse, one third of prostitutes are under the age of 18. Without swift and decisive intervention by law enforcement, these girls are destined to live a life of suffering and self-destruction.

Some say that prostitution is a legitimate profession because it contributes to the economy. However, the profits stemming from prostitution go directly back to organized crime rings, helping to fund drug trafficking and human trafficking. Others have argued that prostitution is a valid solution for men who would otherwise satisfy their sexual appetite through rape and sexual harassment. I hope that most people recognize this as a delusion since prostitutes are the very victims of such violence on a regular basis. In fact, there are 40 times more homicides among prostitutes than in the general population.

In light of the aforesaid, I think that we have indeed understood the objectives behind the fallacious stories of black journalism. If so, then who are the people behind these publications? Who funds this sort of PR? I recently read a ridiculous newspaper column regarding a non-profit organization founded by so-called “happy hookers” to fight against legislation aimed at outlawing prostitution. Indeed, it is certainly not surprising that some prostitutes would object; they are afraid of losing their livelihood.

With the absence of an appropriate rehabilitation program, prostitutes may find themselves unemployed. But the truth is that the prostitution industry in Israel brings in about three and a half billion shekels a year. And who enjoys these huge sums? The Prostitutes? Not exactly. The main beneficiaries of the sex industry are the pimps, handlers and traffickers of human beings. The same people who are employing PR firms to bring us stories about “happy hookers.”

We are faced today with an historic opportunity. The criminalization of the client law, initiated by MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset four months ago. According to the bill, anyone who is caught soliciting sex in exchange for money will be required to attend sex addiction rehabilitation while repeat offenders could face a maximum of 6 months in prison. A similar law was ratified in Sweden several years ago resulting in a 50% reduction in their prostitution industry. If only our current government, who justifies its existence by promising to advance social issues, would pass the bill on its second and third Knesset readings; this would be a major step towards restoring respect and dignity for women in Israel.

This process, however, would be much easier if it were not for the stories being published today that distort the grim realities of prostitution into being delightful tales of a wonderful life. If you think that yellow journalism has high ratings, it is extremely difficult to compete with black journalism.

Originally published on 25/06/2012 on

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