In an official Knesset committee report published just a month before Pesach 2005, it was estimated that 3000 women are illegally smuggled into Israel through the Egyptian border. They are enticed to come, mostly from the Former Soviet Union, with promises of a good job and better life. They are then sold into sexual slavery at "auctions" at $8000-10,000. These women, 23 yrs old on average, are raped, abused, incarcerated and threatened, "servicing" 10-15 clients over 14-18 hrs a day, 7 days a week. The women become indentured slaves with an ever growing debt to their owners. Israeli men of all walks of life pay approximately 1,000,000 visits to brothels per month and the profits from this illicit activity are estimated at 750 million dollars annually.
The organization Pidyon, through its Task Force on Human Trafficking (www.tfht.org), and other human rights organizations work to assist individuals entrapped in this system, advocate for them and for laws to prevent further abuses, and to lobby legislators, judges and law enforcement officials to stop the cycle of abusers, “clients” and bystanders who enable this depraved trade in human beings. It is crucial that the authorities understand that human trafficking is slavery. Women and especially children are physically and emotionally abused and made to fear for their lives. Israel has made clear efforts to address this problem, but more work remains. The State of Israel must adopt a zero tolerance approach to human trafficking.
Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has adopted a strong stand against the worldwide enslavement of human beings in its Resolution on Worldwide Slavery (2002), based on the teaching that every human being is created “b’tzelem E-lohim”, “in God’s image”;
Whereas this global practice affects 600,000 to 800,000 human beings each year;
Whereas in Israel this problem has grown into the enslavement and abuse of some 3,000 people, mainly women, each year despite the efforts of the authorities;
Whereas in the Jewish State human trafficking is unacceptable as it is inconsistent with Jewish teaching about the value of every human soul and our history as a people who has known oppression and enslavement; and
Whereas Pidyon and other organizations work to: 1) free and support those able to escape; and 2) urge changes in the laws to prosecute those who enslave others.
Therefore be it resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly educate themselves and their communities about this global epidemic of human enslavement;
Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call on its members to endorse the Pidyon Rabbinic Petition calling on all Israeli officials to take increased action to stop human trafficking;
Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly and its members collaborate with elected and other governmental officials to bring about an end to human trafficking in Israel and around the globe; and
Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly partner with Pidyon and other anti-slavery groups to bring an end to this abusive practice in Israel and around the world.
Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2006