The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is taking action against the phenomenon of female sex tourism- women who come to Israel as tourists in order to engage in prostitution. A round table including all of the relevant authorities is expected to convene after the holiday season for the first time and hopes to initiate new strategies to deal with the phenomenon.

Israel struggles with sex tourism (Archive)

Israel struggles with sex tourism (Archive) Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Israeli authorities have been grappling for years with female sex tourism, when women, usually from underdeveloped countries, come to Israel to engage in prostitution. Government ministries and organizations that work against prostitution and trafficking in women announced today that they will be holding a round table so that all relevant parties can discuss solving the problem together. In the meantime, Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is supposed to formulate legislation for enforcement with regards to the various elements in the tourism sector, including hotels.

The women engaging in female sex tourism come to Israel as tourists, but are actually driven by a well-oiled money machine; although they are not hidden and smuggled in illegally, their passports are often forcibly taken away from them upon arrival by pimps and they are left with no real choice about how much they want to work and when they want to leave.

Some hotels are also guilty of taking part in sex tourism. In many cases, the management is either unaware or chooses to turn a blind eye. In others, hotel employees work as intermediaries who offer guests sex services and work with the pimps.

After a number of debates took place in the Knesset on the issue of sex tourism in Israel, the Ministry of Tourism, together with the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution and other relevant institutions, are expected to hold a round table to examine the ways to most effectively tackle the phenomenon.

“While the state authorities are having a hard time understanding the magnitude of the trafficking phenomenon,” the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution said, “the aid organizations that are united in the struggle against prostitution have information that can be of great help. We expect all of the authorities to deal with [the issue] with all seriousness.”