The Israeli Prostitution Task Force Committee's
promise to carry out 'a large-scale offensive to root out lap dances from strip clubs' is just one several concurrent attacks on sex workers' rights currently being launched by the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). Ministers are
sponsoring amendments to the law in order to criminalise 'striptease' under prostitution law, stating that both stripping and other sex work "perpetuate harmful and humiliating attitudes towards women and their bodies".
Israeli law conflates those suspected of being trafficking victims and migrant sex workers, usually resulting in people being deported or refused entry at the border. The number of deportations from Israel had subsided in recent years, but 2018
has seen an increase again -- in the first 8 months of this year, 288 people were turned away at the border
"on suspicion they planned to work in prostitution " (an 87% increase compared to last year).
In October, after parliamentary recess, the Knesset will consider a Bill proposing criminalisation of the purchase of sex, which was
approved to be taken forward in August . This is the 8th year that Israel's Knesset has considered a proposal for sex work law reform resembling the '
Nordic Model ', which criminalises the purchase of sex. So far no version of the Bill has progressed beyond the first reading (in Israel a bill needs to pass through three readings before coming law).
The most recent proposed legislation proposes civil penalties, instead of criminal charges, for those who attempt to purchase sexual services; the Bill proposes a fines system, with first time 'offenders' facing a fine of NIS 1,500 ($405). The
penalty can increase to NIS 3,000 ($810) for those who repeat the offense within three years, and courts would be empowered to raise the fines to a maximum of NIS 75,300 ($20,400.) Fines would be applicable to those who pay someone for their
labour when it includes the provision of sexual services. As in many countries who have the Nordic Model, Israel also plans to make it an offense to attempt to pay for sexual services regardless of whether the act or the payment actually takes
The Council of State Administrative Law division has upheld restrictive rules for brothel owners, that were initially introduced in 2013, but have been postponed due to a legal challenge.
The brothel keepers in Amsterdam's Red Light District must ensure that prostitutes should meet the minimum-age requirement of 21.
The owners are also obliged to interview sex workers in order to spot signs of human trafficking. A previous 2015 court judgement requires that Dutch brothel owners must speak the languages of the sex workers they hire. Reports of these
interviews should then be made available to municipal supervisors. However personal data of sex workers obtained during interviews does not have to be shared with municipal supervisors.
Among rules not upheld by the court is the requirement for the owners of window-based brothels to be held responsible for violations of hygiene rules, including cleanliness of the rooms and sex toys.
The decision by the Council of State is irrevocable and leaves no room for another appeal, the Parool reported.
Israel's state prosecutor's office has issued a miserable new directive clamping down on such lap dances in the country's strip clubs, claiming that under some circumstances dances could be considered an illegal act of prostitution.
Deputy State Prosecutor Shlomo Lamberger has instructed police to increase the enforcement against such lap dances, which, in certain circumstances (such as the duration of the dance and the nature of the physical contact between the dancer
and the customer) will be considered as an act of prostitution-- which does not have a legal definition.
According to the new directive, law enforcement officials will be able to act against owners of strip clubs by issuing closing warrants, discontinuing the clubs' business licenses, and in case of violations of the directive, filing indictments
against such institutions.
The police have begun issuing warning letters to strip club owners around the country detailing the change in policy and warning the owners of potential future police action. Anti-prostitution activists have hailed the new policy for giving the
police an effective enforcement tool that will make it easier to close down strip clubs on the claim that prostitution activity is occurring on the premises.
The new policy was developed after a Tel Aviv district court judge ruled that a strip club near the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange could not be granted a license as a place of entertainment. The prosecutor's office then assembled a team to look into
grounds for deeming strip clubs as places of prostitution.