The Ministerial committee for Legislation approved Sunday a bill submitted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to impose fines on prostitution customers.
A task team headed by Emi Palmor, Director General of the Ministry of Justice, will be established to oversee the implementation of decisions made by the committee for fighting prostitution.
The Knesset will vote on the bill in its next session. If the bill passes into law, paying for prostitutes will soon become illegal.
According to the bill, a client of prostitution will be fined NIS 1,500. Repeat offenders within three years will be fined NIS 3,000. Defendants could dispute the fine and go to trial. The court, however, will have the option of raising the fine up to NIS 75,300.
“Today, the government explicitly declared that the state is taking responsibility for the 14,000 women and men involved in prostitution,” said Attorney Nitzan Kahane, a member of the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution.
The ministers also voted to set aside funds for the rehabilitation of prostitutes.
Kahane noted that MKs Zehava Gal-On, Shuli Mualem and Aliza Lavi were involved in the effort to approve the proposal. "We congratulate the government and Ministers Shaked and Erdan who led the move, and urge them to complete the legislative process and enact resolutions as soon as possible," she said.
In discussions regarding the bill, the justice minister said that prostitution would be addressed by a joint program of the Ministries of Justice, Welfare, Education and Health.
The joint program will deal with two main issues: expanding the healthcare options provided to both prostitutes and their clients, and raising public awareness.
The rehabilitation programs will include treatment, employment and economic programs, locating and prevention of prostitution, setting up crisis apartments for the use of prostitutes, establishing rehabilitation centers and sex clinics designated for certain targeted populations.
The mission to raise public awareness will deal with the characteristics, risk factors, and harm involved in the prostitution industry.
A compulsory curriculum for the school system will be developed, educators will be trained to locate and identify minors at risk of exploitation and abuse of prostitution, and soldiers and students will learn about the harm caused by prostitution.
In addition, campaigns concerning the damages involved in the prostitution industry will be launched, assistance content will be published, and professionals in vocations with a potential connection to prostitution will undergo mandatory training.