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The ministers also approved the establishment of a, inter-ministerial committee to implement measures aimed at stamping out prostitution along with rehabilitating those involved in the industry.
Though pimping, sex trafficking and running a brothel are punishable under Israeli law, prostitution itself remains legal. Those charged under the proposed law will have the option of paying the fine, requesting that it be canceled, or being tried in court.
The bill will be brought to the Knesset for readings after the summer recess ends in October. The team, composed of representatives from the Justice, Welfare, Education and Health ministries, will take a dual approach to tackling prostitution. Firstly, the state will provide expanded health services for those who engage in prostitution and their clients, along with a rehabilitation plan for sex workers that will include therapy and economic services, safe houses, rehab centers and sexual health clinics.
Secondly, the team will work to to raise public awareness of the harm caused by the prostitution industry, creating programs aimed at students and soldiers.
Nitzan Kahana, an attorney who is co-director of the Task Force on Human Trafficking lobbying group, welcomed the developments. Punishing prostitution clients was first introduced by Sweden in its Sex Purchase Act, which has since been adopted by Norway, Iceland, Canada, France, and Northern Ireland, and requires consumers to pay a fine or face up to six months in jail.