Police closed down three strip clubs in Tel Aviv on Monday, enforcing prostitution laws under which lap dances can be considered illegal, under certain circumstances.
With the issuing of administrative closure orders to the Baby dolls, Shendu, and Gogo Girls clubs, Tel Aviv no longer has any operating strip joints.
The orders were issued due to prostitution-related offenses and prohibitions against lap-dances, which have been deemed a criminal offense in some cases, police said in a statement.
The move was carried out in cooperation with the Tel Aviv District Prosecution, the National Insurance Agency, the Health Ministry, and tax authorities.
Attorney Nitzan Kahane, director of Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution, welcomed the development.
“This is a necessary step, after years in which brave women spoke of the tremendous damage caused to them as a result of exploitation in strip clubs,” Kahane told the Ynet website said.
Kahane urged authorities to bring the club owners to trial for crimes of prostitution. The police statement did not clarify if criminal charges will be lodged against any of the club operators.
Last year, then-State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan published a directive enforcing prostitution laws under which lap dances are considered form prostitution if there is intimate contact between the dancer and the client.
Current Israeli law doesn't explicitly forbid the exchange of sex services for money - however - soliciting prostitution, sex trafficking, and operating a brothel are punishable offenses.
A 2018 bill that was passed into law by Knesset criminalizes procuring the services of a prostitute, as well as being present at a location chiefly used for prostitution, such as a brothel.
The law is set to come into effect in mid-2020 to give the state time to form rehabilitation mechanisms for sex workers and allow them to find alternative livelihoods.