Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
“Not Objects Anymore”
Misconception number one: Prostitution is a choice. In reality prostitution is primarily the result of a lack of choice, among the most marginalized and vulnerable people. Many women in prostitution are suffering from poverty and are lured into the industry by their desperate need for money. Today there are 12,000 women, men and children who identify as sex workers in Israel. Data from JIJ suggest that 5.5 customers are seen by Israeli sex workers each day.
Project ‘Not Objects Anymore’ or NOA, is an initiative by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) which aims to combat sex trafficking and prostitution in Israel. Through education, policy development, national social media campaigns and community collaborations NOA raises awareness of the harms of trafficking and prostitution. The ‘Anti-Prostitution Educational Program’ has featured across Israeli Television with their short film that exposes the Israeli sex trade.
For years the JIJ lobbied for the ‘Normic Model’ of combating sexual abuse and in 2018 amongst other organisations such as THFT were successful. According to the bill, customers paying for prostitution can be fined 2000nis for a first-time offence, double for a second offence and a three-year sentence for a third offence or up to 75,300nis. Furthermore, in the ‘Truth about Prostitution Report’ JIJ explain 76% of woman and 51% of men currently involved in the sex industry shared their desire to leave. This 2018 bill passed in Israel also creates the social infrastructure that will support those individuals trying to leave their day-to-day torments.
There are many reasons why people have found themselves in prostitution, 66% of woman say it is due to economic hardship and 10% unemployability. However, what is truly noteworthy is that 70% said prostitution had failed to solve their financial problems. With JIJ’s NOA and a fully co-operative Government it no surprise that Israel is the only country in Middle East that appear on the ‘top tier’ of Countries whose governments fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.
Founded in 2004, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice has dedicated themselves to defending the rule of law, human rights, freedom of conscience and democracy for all people in Israel and the Middle East. They direct their passion and knowledge into education and advocacy for victims of injustice. In this articles context, JIJ are truly helping to end abuse, exploitation and trafficking of men, woman and children as the UN Sustainable Development Goals explicitly advocate for.