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Israel shifts blame for prostitution from sex workers to clients

After years of promotion and preparation, Israel's new law criminalizing the consumption of prostitution has finally entered into force.
A woman visits a room in the undergrounds premises of the former Pussycat strip club, turned into a local NGOs community centre and small museum, in the coastal Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv on March 5, 2020. - The demise of Tel Aviv's strip clubs was accelerated in 2018, when Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed a law banning brothels. But the final straw came in April last year when the public prosecutor issued a directive to clamp down on lap dances, arguing they could in some cases be viewed as pro

Israel's landmark law against the consumption of prostitution goes into effect today, July 10, a year and a half after it was passed. “Women are not merchandise and their bodies are not available for rent to anyone willing to pay for the price,” tweeted Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Blue and White this morning. His tweet came in response to several days of intense pressure to postpone the law’s implementation.

For the first time in Israel’s history, liability for prostitution lies with consumers. The police can now fine them thousands of shekels without punishing those who sell the services. The law also determines that in the event of multiple infringements, people hiring prostitutes could face criminal prosecution and that the fines would increase to tens of thousands of shekels.

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