Cablegate: Embassy Tel Aviv Response for Trafficking In


DE RUEHTV #0548/01 0701342
R 101342Z MAR 08






E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 2731

TEL AVIV 00000548 001.2 OF 037

1. (SBU) This cable is Embassy Tel Aviv's input for the
2008 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report per Reftel A.
Embassy point of contact is Alan Holst, telephone (972)
3-519-7437, fax 519-7484, email The
Government of Israel (GOI) TIP Report coordinator was
hospitalized, and Post was granted extra time to prepare
this response in order to allow for the GOI official,
upon her return, to organize and submit the GOI's input,
and for Post to analyze and incorporate that input.
(Reftel B) Nomination of Heroes and Best Practices will
be forthcoming in a separate cable.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Overview of a country's activities to eliminate
trafficking in persons
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. Responses to questions in paragraph 27, section A of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Is the country a country of origin, transit, and/or
destination for internationally trafficked men, women, or

Although numbers have declined dramatically from the
past, Israel remains a destination country for women
trafficked internationally for the purpose of
prostitution. NGOs reported that some Israeli women were
trafficked to other countries for the purpose of
prostitution. NGOs allege that an unknown number
(estimates vary) of foreign workers are trafficked for
the purpose of labor, although reliable quantification of
those charges remains elusive.

-- B. Provide, where possible, numbers or estimates for
each group; how they were trafficked, to where, and for
what purpose.

Most sex trafficking victims are women age 18 to 35. The
government reported that that police estimates were "a
few hundred" victims in 2007, but no exact figures are
available. In 2007, 75 trafficked women were housed at
the Maagan shelter, with 42 women and 7 children resident
at the shelter as of March 1, 2008. The former Soviet
Union (FSU) remains the main source of sex trafficking
victims, with Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and Uzbekistan the
most common countries of origin. NGO Isha L'Isha Haifa
Feminist Center (Isha L'Isha) reported 5 sex trafficking
victims from China, and a "suspicion" that some women
from the Philippines had been trafficked for the purpose
of prostitution.

According to the government, most of the sex trafficking
victims were smuggled across the Israel-Egyptian border,
while a limited number arrived through Ben-Gurion airport

TEL AVIV 00000548 002.2 OF 037

either pretending to be tourists or using false marriage
documents obtained from Israeli nationals. Most women
were transferred from the Egyptian border directly to the
Tel Aviv area, although some were taken to brothels or
other sex establishments in other parts of Israel.
According to evidence brought before the subcommittee
that drafted the recommendations for the National Plan to
Combat Trafficking for Prostitution, most trafficking
victims are now found in call-girl establishments rather
than in brothels.

According to NGO Hotline for Migrant Workers (Hotline),
some Israeli women were trafficked to Canada and Ireland,
which would make Israel a country of origin as well. The
Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT) identified England
and Canada as the destination countries for trafficked
Israeli women. No estimates were available on the number
of Israeli women trafficked to other countries, but we
received no reports to indicate it was more than a few

The extent of labor trafficking is disputed, with
government and NGO estimates (and even estimates from
different NGOs) often reaching very different
conclusions. Two of the reasons for these discrepancies
are the problems of locating potential victims (many are
either in private homes as domestic servants or in
isolated areas as agricultural workers) and the
difficulty in soliciting testimony from the workers even
when they are located. TFHT also complained that lack of
enforcement of labor trafficking laws by Israeli
authorities limits collection of reliable data.

The main countries of origin for foreign workers are
China, the Philippines and Thailand, which are likely the
main countries of origin for labor trafficking victims as

Histadrut, the national federation of labor unions,
reported that 50 migrant workers were smuggled into
Israel from Egypt. Histadrut agreed "there is no doubt"
that migrant workers - as well as Israeli workers - were
sometimes deprived of their rights. Nonetheless,
Histadrut maintained that Israel is not a destination
country for trafficked men and women. Histadrut noted
that foreign workers are able to file complaints against
their employers and "attain their full labor rights and
benefits" and differentiated between discrimination
against foreign workers, which they acknowledged, and
trafficking or forced labor. Histadrut reported that 20
foreign workers were trafficked in the past five years -
they did not clarify when within that period the workers
were trafficked - due to debt bondage, withholding of
passports, and other actions resulting in forced labor.
Histadrut noted that they were aware of these individuals
because they came to Histadrut's offices to complain
against their employers.

NGOs have acknowledged that in many cases the workers
fear losing their jobs, and thus their means of paying

TEL AVIV 00000548 003.2 OF 037

back large debts they incurred to secure the job and
travel to Israel. This often prevents labor trafficking
victims from speaking out against their treatment. The
government has pointed out that in many cases the
workers, despite the harsh conditions of their
employment, do not see themselves as victims because they
left even worse conditions and/or wages in their home
country and would not voluntarily leave their job in
Israel. The government has therefore maintained that,
for a variety of reasons, it is difficult to determine
which foreign workers are in fact trafficking victims,
and that while labor trafficking certainly exists in
Israel, it is very problematic to determine its

According to most estimates, very few labor trafficking
victims entered Israel through illegal means. Almost all
labor trafficking victims entered Israel with visas. The
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor (MITL) issued
92,344 permits for employment of foreign workers in
various fields. Based on the number of trafficking
victims it assisted in 2007, Hotline estimated that 1.2
percent of migrant workers become labor trafficking
victims - i.e., approximately 1,100 new labor trafficking
victims in 2007.

-- C. Does the trafficking occur within the country's

Some Israeli women are trafficked internally. Isha
L'Isha noted a "sharp" increase of internally trafficked
women in Israel. According to Hotline, most victims of
labor trafficking entered the country legally and were
later trafficked. In the words of the GOI response,
"Trafficking is not an isolated event occurring at one
specific point of time and place; it is a chain of events
resulting in the trafficking of a person. Some elements
may occur in Israel, while others occur in the origin and
transit countries. In this sense, most of the
trafficking cases include elements committed within

-- D. Does it occur in territory outside of the
government's control (e.g. in a civil war situation)?

Isha L'Isha charged that sex trafficking to and from the
Palestinian Authority has been going on for many years,
but said that they were not yet in a position to estimate
the amount.

-- E. Are any estimates or reliable numbers available as
to the extent or magnitude of the problem?

Hotline theorized that sex trafficking of foreign women
decreased and moved underground. Hotline reported that
it assisted 49 women in 2007 who had been trafficked for
sex, but that all had been trafficked before 2007. See
paragraph 2, section B for additional estimates. NGO Kav
LaOved estimated that "at least" several hundred migrant
workers "suffer from working conditions which constitute

TEL AVIV 00000548 004.2 OF 037

slavery" and that "several thousand are subjected to
forced labor."

-- F. What is (are) the source(s) of available
information on trafficking in persons or what plans are
in place (if any) to undertake documentation of

There is no comprehensive report on the numbers,
demographics or circumstances of labor trafficking
victims, nor is any currently planned by the GOI, NGOs or
IOs, to the best of our knowledge. Sources include
government and NGO estimates, media reports (also
estimates), and data from organizations like the Maagan
shelter's annual report on the number of victims they
assisted, although such data does not include
undocumented cases. NGO Machon Toda'a collected most of
its information through contact via the internet. The
government reported that the Intelligence Department of
the Israeli Police conducted routine surveys, reports and
analysis of trafficking, and that the Commissioner of
Police and the Minister of Public Security received
monthly reports on police activity in trafficking and
related offenses. Hotline reported that police stopped
conducting brothel raids and consequently no arrests of
traffickers and little or no contact with victims by

-- G. How reliable are the numbers and these sources?

The sources are reliable, but the numbers are often
estimates and therefore vary greatly, particularly in the
case of labor trafficking.

-- H. Are certain groups of persons more at risk of being
trafficked (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls,
certain ethnic groups, refugees, etc.)?

For internal trafficking, Israeli women from the lower
socio-economic strata, often immigrants from the FSU,
minors, and drug addicts are most at risk, according to
the government. TFHT added women with a history of
sexual abuse. For international trafficking, women age
18-35 from the FSU are at highest risk for sex
trafficking, while workers from China (often construction
workers), Thailand (often agricultural workers) and the
Philippines (often domestic servants) constitute the
largest groups of alleged labor trafficking victims. Kav
LaOved identified female caregivers as the highest risk
group for labor trafficking (especially those from Nepal
and Sri Lanka due to languages issues) as well as Thai
agricultural workers. Individuals with limited or no
English skills are at higher risk for both sex and labor
trafficking, and foreign workers who paid large fees to
secure their jobs (Chinese workers reportedly paid the
highest of fees of all foreign workers) are at higher
risk for labor trafficking. The government reported that
Thai agricultural workers are highly vulnerable due to
their isolated places of work, lack of Hebrew language
skills, and their cultural background. Hotline and Kav

TEL AVIV 00000548 005.2 OF 037

LaOved alleged that Turkish workers employed under the
"Tanks for Turks" agreement were also at risk, as the
agreement between the GOI and GOT (according to Kav
LaOved, salaries were transferred directly to Turkey and
deducted from the reciprocal purchase to which the GOI
was obligated in the arrangement) bound the workers to
the contracted company and left them open to abuse and
exploitation. Although there are no reports of
trafficking of African asylum seekers in 2007, the
growing number of African asylum seekers who entered
Israel illegally - their population increased from a few
hundred in late 2006 to several thousand by the end of
2007 - and the desperate circumstances many of them now
find themselves in suggest that they constitute an at
risk group for future trafficking.

3. Responses to questions in paragraph 27, section B of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Please provide a general overview of the
trafficking situation in the country and any changes
since the last TIP Report (e.g. changes in direction).

The nature of sex trafficking in Israel is in flux. The
tougher laws and increased investigations and
prosecutions against sex traffickers have greatly reduced
the number of women trafficked into Israel from years
past. The sex industry is adapting, both in going
underground (call girls vs. brothels) making it harder to
locate and interdict, and by procuring victims with new
methods -- such as internet advertising -- and from new
locations. One clear trend seems to be an increase in
internal trafficking, a concern echoed by, among others,
the National Investigator's Office of the Israel Police
and NGO Isha L'Isha Haifa Feminist Center. There were
also reports of a small number of Israeli women
trafficked to other countries. While the overall problem
of trafficking for the purposes of prostitution remains
smaller than in the past, both the government and NGOs
expressed concern about keeping ahead of the traffickers,
and are working together to assess and respond to the

In labor trafficking, Kav LaOved reported an increase of
foreign workers exploited by the use of "flying visas,"
particularly in the caregiver sector, that they believe
left increasing numbers of migrant workers subject to
debt bondage. (See paragraph 3 section F for further
reporting on this phenomena.) Kav LaOved also reported a
rise in "open visas" leading to debt bondage. In this
practice, employers and recruitment agents with permits
to employ caregivers charge workers large amounts of
money to register their names on the employer's permit.
According to Kav LaOved, this enables the worker to work
elsewhere without a permit, while ostensibly employed
with a valid work permit, and the workers are defrauded
into thinking this practice is legal and/or necessary.
Kav LaOved also reported an "alarming" increase in the
practice of employers or manpower agencies attempting to
remove migrant workers from Israel forcefully by threats,

TEL AVIV 00000548 006.2 OF 037

intimidation and deceit. According to Kav LaOved,
employers have become aware that workers are reporting
these practices to the NGO, and are confiscating cell
phones, restricting movement, and threatening the workers
to prevent them from contacting Kav LaOved (or other
organizations) to voice their complaints.

Changes in direction included the following.

On January 10, 2007 the inter-agency Committee of
Directors General approved a National Plan regarding the
Battle against Slavery and Trafficking in Persons for the
Purposes of Slavery or Forced Labor. The plan identified
five actions as the highest priorities as this stage, and
appointed teams to design steps to implement them.

(1) In the realm of prevention, to undertake
information campaigns in the countries of origin of
foreign workers in order to equip them with basic
information about their conditions of employment and

(2) In the realm of prosecution, to coordinate a
clear division of labor among the law enforcement
agencies in regard to investigation and prosecution
of regulatory offenses versus criminal law offenses
like trafficking and slavery.

(3) In the realm of prosecution, to design a guide
by which to identify victims of trafficking and
slavery (otherwise known as a national referral
mechanism) to be used at relevant crossroads.

(4) In the realm of protection, to establish
supportive frameworks and an array of services for
victims of trafficking and slavery, including
residence solutions and medical insurance.

(5) In the realm of protection, to promote safe
return of victims of trafficking and slavery to
their countries of origin.

On July 11, 2007 the Committee of Directors General
approved a National Plan regarding the Battle against
Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Prostitution.
The committee identified five goals as the highest
priorities at this stage, and appointed inter-ministerial
teams to design steps to implement them.

(1) In the realm of prevention, to strengthen
supervision of the Egyptian border.

(2) In the realm of prosecution, to encourage
awareness of possible changes in patterns of
criminal activity and act accordingly.

(3) In the realm of protection, to fashion a tool
kit to facilitate the identification of victims of

TEL AVIV 00000548 007.2 OF 037

(4) In the realm of protection, to promote the safe
return of victims of trafficking to their countries
of origin.

(5) In the realm of protection, to make efforts to
ensure medical treatment to all victims of
trafficking who have legal status in Israel.

On December 2, 2007, Government Resolution 2670 approved
the National Plan to Combat Trafficking for Prostitution
and the National Plan to Combat Trafficking for Labor;
approved the establishment of a shelter and three
apartments for victims of slavery and trafficking for
slavery and forced labor; and approved an annual national
award for individuals and organizations or offices that
made "outstanding contributions to the battle against

In June 2007, detailed guidelines concerning trafficking
in persons were issued by the Investigations and
Intelligence Division of the Israeli Police dealing with
treatment of trafficking offenses, including distribution
of areas of responsibility between police units and
treatment of related offenses.

Following a series of inter-agency meetings chaired by
the National Coordinator to Combat Trafficking in Persons
(National Coordinator) a procedure to transfer relevant
information between agencies was developed.

Israel signed and is in the final stages of ratifying the
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and
Child Pornography; and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress
and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women in
Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention
against Transnational Crime.

Israel facilitated an agreement between the International
Organization of Migration (IOM) and Thailand -- a key
country of origin for labor trafficking victims in Israel
-- to supervise the recruitment of Thai workers to Israel
so as to prevent high middleman fees and to "insure
legal, fair and well informed temporary migration to
Israel for work in the agricultural sector." The
agreement sets a maximum recruitment fee of 3,135 NIS,
including medical examinations, exclusive of travel
expenses to Israel. IOM will work with an NGO partner in
Israel and with the Foreign Workers Department of MITL to
implement the program.

The government halted the entry of Nepalese workers in
2007 because Nepal lacked diplomatic representation in
Israel. Kav LaOved noted that the entry of Nepalese
workers has not resumed despite the recent opening of a
Nepalese Embassy.

Various government and police officials participated in
numerous international events related to fight against

TEL AVIV 00000548 008.2 OF 037

Responsibilities for the Omsbudswoman for the Complaints
of Foreign Workers, which served as a clearing house for
complaints of foreign workers in the construction
industry, broadened its responsibilities to include
foreign workers in agriculture and nursing care. The
Omsbudswoman received 243 complaints in 2007, of which
170 were concluded and 73 were still under investigation.

MITL issued a special workers' rights brochure for the
construction industry in English, Russian, Romanian,
Turkish, Thai and Chinese. MITL also began distributing
a brochure -- in Hebrew, English, Chinese, Thai, Russian,
Romanian and Turkish -- setting out general labor rights
of foreign workers in Israel to every foreign workers
upon their arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, and posted the
brochure on its website.

Using a wide variety of sources, the National
Coordinator's office began conducting research into the
political, economic and social conditions of countries of
origin of foreign workers in order to better acquaint
government agencies and NGOs with the attitudes and
perceptions of victims. Reports on China, Ghana and
Eritrea were completed and disseminated to relevant
bodies. A report on Thailand is currently in

-- B. (Other items to address may include: What kind of
conditions are the victims trafficked into?

Sex trafficking victims have generally gone underground
with the industry itself, and thus it is difficult to
ascertain their conditions. The government postulated
that "harsh verdicts delivered in cases of trafficking
accompanied by violence increased deterrence among
traffickers and resulted in less violence towards the

Labor trafficking victims, both acknowledged and alleged,
tend to fall into one of two categories -- domestic
servants whose conditions vary greatly from employer to
employer, and agricultural workers who often are crowded
into unsanitary accommodations that might not have even
been constructed for human habitation, sometimes
compelled to work extreme hours with curtailed freedom of
movement (including passports withheld), and in some
cases subjected to violence, physical restraint and/or
sexual harassment.

Examples of individual cases are highlighted in the
individual NGO reports forwarded by email per Reftel C.

-- C. Which populations are targeted by the traffickers?

Women from the FSU remain the most common targets for sex
trafficking, while Chinese construction workers, Thai
agricultural workers and Philippine domestic servants the
most common victims of labor trafficking.

TEL AVIV 00000548 009.2 OF 037

-- D. Who are the traffickers/exploiters? Are they
independent business people? Small or family-based crime
groups? Large international organized crime syndicates?

The government and NGOs agreed that trafficking of women
into Israel for the purpose of prostitution is generally
conducted by organized crime groups. The government
noted that in some cases trafficking was conducted by
families or individuals, while Hotline added as well
"amateur entrepreneurs" such as drivers, brothel managers
and other "on the ground" operatives "looking to make a
quick buck."

Hotline reports that labor traffickers tend to be private
individuals who employ domestic workers or agricultural
workers, plus some manpower agencies, "someone from the
origin country working with Israeli partners" or
"sometimes married to an Israeli or residing in the
country illegally." Histadrut identified "exploiters" as
manpower companies who took large up front fees, or
employers who intimated and abused the workers. The
government reported "no exact statistics" on labor
trafficking, citing the newness of the labor law
amendments that criminalized labor trafficking in October
2006 and the small number of indictments to date (three
in the final stages of approval by the State Attorney's
Office.) Thus far, according to the government, "the
perpetrators have been found to be otherwise normative
Israeli citizens in the field of agriculture."

-- E. What methods are used to approach victims? (Are
they offered lucrative jobs, sold by their families,
approached by friends of friends, etc.?)

According to Hotline, NGOs in the Ukraine report that
women are often recruited for sex trafficking through
friends and newspaper ads. Israeli women who are
trafficked internally reportedly are commonly found via
newspaper and internet ads, or trafficked by a lover,
family member or someone else they know. The government
also reported that newspaper and internet ads in the
countries of origin were the most common form of
recruitment. Labor trafficking victims almost always
come to Israel voluntarily, often seeking out manpower
agencies in search of overseas employment. Kav LaOved
reported that recruitment agents abroad often visit poor
villages and tempt workers with promises of lucrative
employment and good conditions, both of which later turn
out to be false. As an example, Kav LaOved noted that
some Thai agricultural workers take out loans or raise
amounts up to $10,000 for recruitment fees based on
promises of high monthly salaries, only to discover when
they arrive that their low monthly salary does not even
enable them to meet their loan repayments.

-- F. What methods are used to move the victims (e.g.,
are false documents being used?).

Hotline reports that Israeli women trafficked externally
entered the target countries on tourist visas. An

TEL AVIV 00000548 010 OF 037

unknown number of labor trafficking victims enter Israel
via "flying visas" that are work visas for jobs that turn
out to be nonexistent, resulting in the workers -- now
without a source of income, no legal status in Israel,
and presumably large debts accrued in acquiring the non-
existent job and transportation to Israel -- extremely
vulnerable to exploitation. According to the government
and numerous NGOs, most sex trafficking victims were
smuggled across the border with Egypt.

-- G. Are employment, travel, and tourism agencies or
marriage brokers involved with or fronting for
traffickers or crime groups to traffic individuals?

The government reported that it had not found travel
agencies or marriage brokers serving as a front for sex
trafficking or labor trafficking. Machon Toda'a charged
that marriage brokers are used to approach victims, as
are modeling agencies, family and friends. NGOs allege
that employment agencies are often involved in labor
trafficking, both in the overt manner of the "flying
visas" described in answer 3F, and in facilitating
Israeli employers who allegedly withhold passports and
take other actions that would constitute trafficking.

4. Response to questions in paragraph 27, section C of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Which government agencies are involved in anti-
trafficking efforts and which agency, if any, has the

The national inter-agency coordinator for GOI anti-
trafficking efforts is Rachel Gershuni of the Ministry of
Justice (MOJ). Primary agencies involved in these
efforts include MOJ (the Attorney General, State
Attorney, the Legal Aid Division, and the Tribunal for
Detention Review, in addition to the National
Coordinator); the Ministry of the Interior (Interior);
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services; The
Prime Minister's Office (PMO) (particularly the Authority
for the Advancement of Women); The Ministry of Education;
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA); The National
Police Investigations Unit; The Immigration Authority
(and Immigration Police); MITL; The Prison Administrative
Tribunal; and the Knesset (notably the Special
Parliamentary Committee on the issue of Foreign Workers.)

5. Responses to questions in paragraph 27, section D of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

A. What are the limitations on the government's ability
to address this problem in practice? For example, is
funding for police or other institutions inadequate?

While praising the National Coordinator's efforts, TFHT
observed that her office was understaffed and
overburdened and this prevented the completion of certain
functions, often resulting in "a bottleneck." Some
funding issues hamper efforts. MITL has only 1

TEL AVIV 00000548 011 OF 037

investigator for 350 manpower companies. TFHT complained
that police did not commit sufficient manpower to combat
trafficking, and said that police are not permitted to
execute sting operations by order of MOJ. Isha L'Isha,
however, said that trafficking in women is successfully
investigated in the Tel Aviv central unit and "it can be
seen that state resources are allocated to this unit" but
that "central units in the periphery rarely treat the
issue of trafficking in women." Labor trafficking
victims still lack a shelter. NGOs complain of lack of
interpreters at deportation hearings. The problem is not
a lack of resources, but with many competing security and
other demands, a question of allocation.

In labor trafficking specifically, Kav LaOved complained
of "indifference, lack of good will, and bureaucracy,"
noting for example that the government funds more than
400 policeman to apprehend and deport undocumented
migrant workers, but "only a handful" of policemen to
deal with the protection of migrant workers' rights and
investigate criminal offenses committed against migrant
workers. Kav LaOved complained of lack of coordination
among Israeli authorities when it comes to labor
trafficking, and an unwillingness to acknowledge offenses
symptomatic of trafficking (notably excessive recruitment
fees.) Another problem, according to Kav LaOved, is that
the National Coordinator only has an advisory roles and
lacks essential powers, such as the ability to halt the
deportation of a suspected trafficking victim. Kav
LaOved cited a number of other problems, such as lack of
screening of deportees for trafficking victims prior to
deportation, an insufficient number of translators, and
the lack of a shelter for labor trafficking victims. Kav
LaOved singled out Interior as the source of "most of the
problems" they encounter, and complained that the
ministry was unresponsive to complaints, lacked
sensitivity to the issues or the victims, failed to
identify victims, and was reluctant to take actions it is
authorized to take to combat trafficking, such as issuing
visas to victims.

B. Is overall corruption a problem?


C. Does the government lack the resources to aid victims?


6. Response to questions in paragraph 27, section E of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. To what extent does the government systematically
monitor its anti-trafficking efforts (on all fronts -
prosecution, victim protection, and prevention) and
periodically make available, publicly or privately and
directly or through regional/international organizations,
its assessments of these anti-trafficking efforts?

The government reported that the National Coordinator

TEL AVIV 00000548 012 OF 037

attempts to monitor the efforts of government agencies
"on micro and macro levels" to "identify problems and
seek solutions," and cited inter-agency meetings she
convened and meetings between NGOs and government
officials she initiated. The government explained that
the National Coordinator annually prepares a summary of
the government's steps to combat trafficking that is
placed on the MOJ website and advertised to the public.
A special internet site for the office of the National
Coordinator is in final stages of preparation. The
Department of International Agreements and Litigation in
MOJ submits an annual report to the State Department,
which is then disseminated among key government
officials. The Parliamentary Subcommittee of Trafficking
in Women chaired by MK Zehava Gal-On (a subcommittee of
the Committee on the Status of Women) held its annual
session following the publication of the State
Department's Trafficking in Persons Report to discuss the
issues raised in the report, and Ambassador Jones gave
remarks at the event and participated in the discussion.
As usual, the Special Parliamentary Committee on the
issue of Foreign Workers, chaired by MK Ran Cohen, teamed
with the Parliamentary Subcommittee of Trafficking in
Women for the meeting on the State Department's TIP

Hotline described GOI efforts as "poor" and said "we are
usually the ones providing information." Isha L'Isha
described the government's monitoring efforts as "not
acceptable" and that ministries are not helping to
implement the "new law" (2006 amendments to the
trafficking law) and the situation is "now
deteriorating." Machon Toda'a noted that "the internet
domain is fenceless" and is now the main platform of the
sex industry worldwide and in Israel, and argued the need
for education and awareness campaigns on the virtual sex

Investigation and prosecution of traffickers

7. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section A of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. For questions A-D, posts should highlight in
particular whether or not the country has enacted any new
legislation since the last TIP report.

In August 2007 an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law
(Consolidated Version) 5742-1982 was passed by which the
courts are empowered to receive a psychosocial survey of
the condition of a victim of a crime of violence and of
the damage caused by the crime. "Crime of violence"
includes all trafficking crimes, abduction for the
purposes of trafficking, holding a person under
conditions of slavery, forced labor, causing a person to
leave the country in order to engage them in prostitution
or enslave them.

TEL AVIV 00000548 013 OF 037

In hopes of expediting cases, the Knesset approved an
amendment to the Courts Law on January 29, 2008 that
entered into force on February 7, 2008 by which
trafficking for prostitution case will be heard by one
judge instead of a bench of three judges, as was the case
previously. The amendment is entitled Courts Law
(Amendment number 48) (a Sole Judge in Trafficking in
Persons for Prostitution).

-- B. Does the country have a law specifically
prohibiting trafficking in persons--both for sexual and
non-sexual purposes (e.g. forced labor)?


-- C. If so, please specifically cite the name of the law
and its date of enactment and provide the exact language
of the law prohibiting TIP and all other law(s) used to
prosecute TIP cases.

The comprehensive anti-trafficking law entitled
Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Legislative
Amendments) Law 5766-2006 came into force on
October 29, 2006.

-- The courts are authorized to hold trials involving
trafficking in persons behind closed doors and to prevent
the publication of details that identify the victims.

Additional details sent to G/TIP via email per Reftel C.

-- D. Does the law(s) cover both internal and external
(transnational) forms of trafficking?

Yes. Hotline, however, charged that while the law does
not make a distinction between internal and external
trafficking, no cases of internal trafficking have ever
been opened.

-- E. If not, under what other laws can traffickers be
prosecuted? For example, are there laws against slavery
or the exploitation of prostitution by means of force,
fraud or coercion?

Not applicable.

-- F. Are these other laws being used in trafficking

Isha L'Isha cited various laws dealing with extortion,
threats, rape, indecent assault, attempted murder, and
drug trafficking, in addition to the comprehensive sex
and labor trafficking statutes in the trafficking law as
amended in 2006. Kav LaOved noted non-criminal statutes
not specifically enacted for trafficking that allow for
civil penalties, such as national labor laws, tort laws
(particularly provisions on exploitation), and the
Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law (where victims can
receive compensation without proof of damage.)

TEL AVIV 00000548 014 OF 037

-- G. Please provide a full inventory of trafficking
laws, including non-criminal statutes that allow for
civil penalties against alleged trafficking crimes,
(e.g., civil forfeiture laws and laws against illegal

Additional details sent to G/TIP via email per Reftel C.

8. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section B of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. What are the prescribed penalties for trafficking
people for sexual exploitation?

The maximum penalty for trafficking in persons under the
law is 16 years, increasing to 20 years if the victim is
a minor.

The maximum penalty for kidnapping for any of the
purposes of trafficking is 20 years, with a maximum
penalty of 10 years for taking a person outside the
borders of the country in which they reside for the
purposes of trafficking.

The 2006 amendments to the trafficking law increased from
one to three years the penalty for withholding a
passport, increasing to five years with certain
aggravated circumstances, such as placing the person
deprived of their passport in jeopardy.

The trafficking law instructs the court to grant to
trafficking victims compensation to be paid by the
offender or through a dedicated fund to be set up for
such purposes.

-- B. What penalties were imposed for persons convicted
of sexual exploitation over the reporting period? Please
note the number of convicted sex traffickers who received
suspended sentences and the number who received only a
fine as punishment.

Hotline reported that sentences for sex trafficking
convictions ranged from 3 months to 6 years, with an
average of 2.8 years, which Hotline said was a small
decline from 2006. According to Hotline, the courts
awarded legal redress to 8 victims in 6 cases in amounts
ranging from 5,000 NIS to 50,000 NIS, with an average of
31,666 NIS per defendant and 25,626 per victim. TFHT
complained that not enough cases were prosecuted, and
insufficient sentences were handed down when convictions
were achieved. It cited one instance (Case 1130/06 State
of Israel vs. Aleksai Sakhno and Vladimir Abromov,
decision dated September 16, 2007) of "two known
traffickers with a history of trafficking that went
unprosecuted" who were given "a particularly lenient
sentence" of 15 months, and the victims were not awarded
any compensation. Other NGOs also complained about what
they considered the lack of prosecutions and insufficient
sentences in trafficking cases, particularly labor
trafficking, although TFHT noted that "as with any new

TEL AVIV 00000548 015 OF 037

law (regarding the 2006 amendments criminalizing labor
trafficking) the application of the law will be
complicated, requiring some time before law enforcement
and courts are able to efficiently implement it." Isha
L'Isha, however, noted that "penalties (for sex
trafficking) have increased in general."

9. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section C of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Punishment of Labor Trafficking Offenses: What are
the prescribed and imposed penalties for trafficking for
labor exploitation, such as forced or bonded labor and
involuntary servitude?

The prescribed penalty for trafficking for labor is up to
16 years of imprisonment, or up to 20 years of
imprisonment if the offense if committed against a minor.
Trafficking for forced labor carries a penalty of up to 7
years imprisonment. Holding a person under conditions of
slavery carries a penalty of up to 16 years of

In December 2007 two defendants were convicted or organ
trafficking under the new labor and organ trafficking
sections of the anti-trafficking law. Some of victims'
cases constituted debt bondage. One defendant was
sentenced to four years of imprisonment, an additional
suspended sentence, and 60,000 NIS compensation to be
awarded to the victims. The other defendant was
sentenced to 20 months imprisonment and an additional
suspended sentence.

The National Coordinator stressed that showed that Israel
has internalized a comprehensive view of trafficking and
is determined to enforce the law in all aspects of
trafficking, and that it was a groundbreaking case on an
international level, and cited a number of colleagues
from governments in other countries that called the case

-- B. Do the government's laws provide for criminal
punishment - i.e. jail time - for labor recruiters in
labor source countries who engage in recruitment of
laborers using knowingly fraudulent or deceptive offers
that result in workers being trafficked in the
destination country?

Yes, the law carries a penalty of up to 16 years for
labor recruiters, with another possible 10 years for
causing the victim to leave his or her country for the
purposes of prostitution or slavery. Hotline noted that
there is no case law regarding this issue since no
criminal charges have been filed against labor
traffickers. (The government noted the conviction for
organ trafficking was the result of the amendment to the
labor law that included the criminalization of labor
trafficking.) The MITL office responsible for manpower
agencies said it revoked 50 licenses during 2007.

TEL AVIV 00000548 016 OF 037

-- C. Are there laws in destination countries punishing
employers or labor agents in labor destination countries
who confiscate workers' passports or travel documents,
switch contracts without the worker's consent as a means
to keep the worker in a state of service, or withhold
payment of salaries as means of keeping the worker in a
state of service?

Yes, the trafficking law carries a maximum sentence of
three years imprisonment for detaining a passport, up to
five years for detaining a passport for the purposes of
trafficking. The law also carries a penalty of up to
three years of imprisonment for "taking advantage of the
distress, physical or mental weakness, inexperience of
carelessness of another person" which the government said
could be viewed as circumstantial evidence pointing to
trafficking, slavery or forced labor. Hotline noted that
there is no specific law prohibiting switching contracts
as a means to keep the worker in a state of service or
withholding payment for that means, but that if such act
results in keeping a worker in a state of servitude the
offender might be liable for punishment for holding a
person under conditions of slavery under article 375A of
the Penal Code, or for forced labor under article 376 of
the Penal Code. Kav LaOved complained that the
government was "well aware of the existence and the
extent of the industry in recruitment fees" but was not
actively pursuing the issue in Israel or in source
countries. The government has expressed frustration with
such charges, and pointed out their limitations in
investigating and prosecuting cases in source countries
where the activity might not even be criminalized. Kav
LaOved also complained that employers - particularly
farmers, according to their examples - that are given new
permits even after they were found guilty of offenses.

-- D. If law(s) prescribe criminal punishments for these
offenses, what are the actual punishments imposed on
persons convicted of these offenses? Please note the
number of convicted labor traffickers who received
suspended sentences and the number who received only a
fine as punishment.

The government reported 693 criminal indictments, 48
judgments and 11,169,280 NIS in fines against employers
and manpower companies for violations of labor laws
pertaining to foreign workers, plus 37 licenses revoked
and 28 licenses limited. However, the only explicit
labor trafficking-related conviction and sentence was the
organ trafficking case described in paragraph 9 section

10. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section D of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. What are the prescribed penalties for rape or
forcible sexual assault?

For rape, 16 years, 20 years under aggravated
circumstances, including use of violence or rape of a

TEL AVIV 00000548 017 OF 037

minor. For consensual sex with a minor, up to 5 years.

-- B. How do they compare to the prescribed penalties for
crimes of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation?

The penalty for rape carries the same penalty as
trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, although
TFHT noted that the letter of the law is stricter with
respect to sex trafficking.

11. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section E of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Is prostitution legalized or decriminalized?
Specifically, are the activities of the prostitute

The activities of the prostitute are not criminalized,
nor currently is soliciting a prostitute except when a
minor is involved. Related activities such as
maintaining a place for the purpose of prostitution,
pimping, and publication of sex advertisements (under
certain circumstances) are criminalized.

-- B. Are the activities of the brothel owner/operator,
clients, pimps, and enforcers criminalized?

Yes. See previous answer.

-- C. Are these laws enforced?

Yes, according to the government. TFHT complained that
the laws against related activities are rarely
prosecuted. Hotline said the laws are rarely enforced
due to directives issued by the State Attorney in 2006
that specified cases should be investigated by the police
only if one of a set of conditions applied, such as the
involvement of minors or when other criminal activities
took place.

-- D. If prostitution is legal and regulated, what is the
legal minimum age for this activity? Note that in many
countries with federalist systems, prostitution laws may
be under state or local jurisdiction and may differ among

Prostitution is not considered legal.

12. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section F of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Has the government prosecuted any cases against
human trafficking offenders? If so, provide numbers of
investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences
served, including details on plea bargains and fines, if
relevant and available.

The courts prosecuted 20 sex trafficking cases. Some of
the 84 pandering cases that were prosecuted were
originally trafficking cases that were adjusted due to

TEL AVIV 00000548 018 OF 037

lack of evidence. Kav LaOved noted that minutes of a
December 26, 2007 government joint committee meeting of
Knesset Committee for the Problem of Migrant Workers and
the Committee for the Struggle against Trafficking in
Women showed that the Immigration Department at the
Ministry for Public Security reported that three
indictments have been prepared concerning forced labor,
and one indictment concerning slavery, and that one of
the indictments has been filed in court. No further
information is available at this time on these reported

-- B. Please indicate which laws were used to
investigate, prosecute, convict, and sentence

The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons law.

-- C. Also, if possible, please disaggregate by type of
TIP (labor vs. commercial sexual exploitation) and
victims (children, as defined by U.S. and international
law as under 18 years of age, vs. adults).

Except for the organ trafficking case reported
previously, all trafficking cases were prosecuted for sex
trafficking. There were no labor trafficking cases,
although the government did fine and indict employers for
various labor law offenses. We do not have a breakdown
of how many involved minors. Isha L'Isha noted that "the
difficulties of implementing the new law are mainly due
to its innovative concepts that regard every human being
as entitled to dignity, and it is hard to implement it in
several ministries."

-- D. Does the government in a labor source country
criminally prosecute labor recruiters who recruit
laborers using knowingly fraudulent or deceptive offers
or impose on recruited laborers inappropriately high or
illegal fees or commissions that create a debt bondage
condition for the laborer?

Not applicable.

-- E. Does the government in a labor destination country
criminally prosecute employers or labor agents who
confiscate workers' passports/travel documents, switch
contracts or terms of employment without the worker's
consent, use physical or sexual abuse or the threat of
such abuse to keep workers in a state of service, or
withhold payment of salaries as a means to keep workers
in a state of service?

The government has the authority to do so under the
comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but all reported
judgments against employers and labor agents were under
labor laws, except for the organ trafficking case. Post
forwarded by email per Reftel C information Kav LaOved
provided on a number of cases that it alleged were
examples of the government's failure to respond to labor

TEL AVIV 00000548 019 OF 037

-- F. Are the traffickers serving the time sentenced? If
not, why not?

The government reported that all are serving their
sentences, except those who fled justice. Hotline
reported that as far as they knew all convicted sex
traffickers were serving the time sentenced.

-- G. Please indicate whether the government can provide
this information, and if not, why not?

See previous answer.

13. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section G of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government provide any specialized
training for government officials in how to recognize,
investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking?
Specify whether NGOs, international organizations, and/or
the USG provide specialized training for host government

Yes, many in concert with NGOs. Details forwarded by
email per Reftel C.

14. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section H of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

--A. Does the government cooperate with other governments
in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking

Yes, the government cooperated with authorities from
Russia, Ukraine, and other Western European and FSU
countries, in cases involving both international and
Israeli traffickers. Hotline agreed that when a
trafficked woman claimed it was dangerous for her to
return to her home country, Israeli police cooperated
with local police to investigate. Hotline noted that the
bilateral agreement the government signed with Thailand
whereby IOM will facilitate the recruitment of Thai
workers has yet to take effect, so it is not yet known
what effect that might have on investigations and
prosecutions of labor trafficking cases. Kav LaOved
noted that the Government passed a decision that as of
August 2008 migrant workers will only be brought into
Israel from countries with which Israel has bilateral

-- B. If possible, can post provide the number of
cooperative international investigations on trafficking
during the reporting period?

No specific number was reported.

15. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section I of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

TEL AVIV 00000548 020 OF 037

-- A. Does the government extradite persons who are
charged with trafficking in other countries?


-- B. If so, can post provide the number of traffickers
extradited during the reporting period?

No specific number was reported. The government cited as
an example an October 2007 request to Ukraine for the
provisional arrest of an Israeli national to stand trial
for organ trafficking.

-- C. Does the government extradite its own nationals
charged with such offenses?

Yes, according to Israel's Extradition Law 5714-1954, the
government may extradite Israeli nationals charged with
trafficking for a number or purposes, including
prostitution and forced labor. Two requests, one from
Ukraine and one from Panama, are pending.

-- D. If not, is the government prohibited by law form
extraditing its own nationals?

Not applicable.

-- E. If so, what is the government doing to modify its
laws to permit the extradition of its own nationals?

Not applicable.

16. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section J of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Is there evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional
level? If so, please explain in detail.

The government stated that its authorities unequivocally
condemn all forms of trafficking. Several NGOs expressed
a desire for greater anti-trafficking efforts and
investment (especially in services to victims), Hotline
reported that a brothel was on the municipal records of
one city (that sued the brothel for non payment of
taxes), and Kav LaOved raised questions about the
government's policy toward Eritrean asylum seekers (a
number of whom were placed in work situations within
Israel) but we received no reports indicating government
involvement in or tolerance of trafficking.

17. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section K of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. If government officials are involved in
trafficking, what steps has the government taken to end
such participation?

For the past seven years, the Department for
Investigation of Police Officers, an autonomous body with

TEL AVIV 00000548 021 OF 037

the Ministry of Justice, has been operating a unit
investigations and undercover activity to uncover any
involvement by government officials in trafficking-
related corruption.

-- B. Please indicate the number of government officials
investigated and prosecuted for involvement in
trafficking or trafficking-related corruption during the
reporting period.

A few cases of improper activity, such as mistreatment of
foreign workers, were investigated, and some were
prosecuted. The government reported no cases of
trafficking involving government officials.

-- C. Have any been convicted? What sentence(s) was
imposed? Please specify if officials received suspended
sentences, were given a fine, fired, or reassigned to
another position within the government as punishment.
Please provide specific numbers, if available. Please
indicate the number of convicted officials that received
suspended sentences or received only a fine as

Not applicable.

18. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section L of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. As part of the new requirements of the 2005 TVPRA,
for countries that contribute troops to international
peacekeeping efforts, please indicate whether the
government vigorously investigated, prosecuted, convicted
and sentenced nationals of the country deployed abroad as
part of a peacekeeping or other similar mission who
engage in or facilitate severe forms of trafficking or
who exploit victims of such trafficking.

Not applicable.

19. Response to questions in paragraph 28, section M of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. If the country has an identified child sex tourism
problem (as source or destination), how many foreign
pedophiles has the government prosecuted or
deported/extradited to their country of origin? What are
the countries of origin for sex tourists?

Not applicable.

-- B. Do the country's child sexual abuse laws have
extraterritorial coverage (similar to the U.S. PROTECT


-- C. If so, how many of the country's nationals have
been prosecuted and/or convicted under the
extraterritorial provision(s) for traveling to other

TEL AVIV 00000548 022 OF 037

countries to engage in child sex tourism?

None were reported.


20. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section A of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government assist foreign trafficking
victims, for example, by providing temporary to permanent
residency status, or other relief from deportation? If
so, please explain.

The government reported that all trafficking victims in
the Maagan shelter received temporary shelters, plus work
visas if requested, whether they chose to testify or not.
Women who chose to testify received a visa for the
duration of the court proceedings, which have taken a
year on average. After the legal proceedings are
concluded, the women who choose to testify are entitled
to request a temporary visa for another year, though in
special circumstances the period may be longer or
shorter. In 2007, 15 women received a visa (equivalent
to a U.S. B1 visa) for 6 months, 25 women received an
extension of their visa following their testimony, 13
women receive an "inter-visa" allowing its holder to
leave the country and return with a designated time
during their testimonies, and 40 women received 1-year
visas for humanitarian reasons.

A written procedure for giving visas to victims of labor
trafficking and slavery is still in process. Interior
granted 6 victims 1-year visa extensions.

According to the government, foreign workers who file
complaints regarding criminal offenses are not arrested,
are generally placed in alternative employment, and are
released with a special Immigration Authority document
that is renewed monthly.

Isha L'Isha complained that women victims of trafficking
are entitled to their rights only if they are in the
Maagan shelter, and that women outside of the shelter
face great difficulty in obtaining visas to remain in
Israel. They said that in two cases Interior did not
approve the transfer of women from a detention center to
the shelter until the clarification of their legal case,
and that "this went on for eight months." According to
Isha L'Isha, women who do not testify and mothers who
cannot leave Israel because of their children and do not
receive legal status in Israel encountered problems in
receiving services and benefits.

21. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section B of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the country have victim care facilities which

TEL AVIV 00000548 023 OF 037

are accessible to trafficking victims?

Yes. Women identified as sex trafficking victims were
transferred directly to the Maagan shelter without
passing through any detention facilities. The police,
Immigration Authority and NGOs all referred victims to
the shelter.

Besides the director and administrative staff, the
shelter includes three social workers, nine counselors, a
housemother, and a security officer. A physician visits
twice weekly, a psychiatrist visits when deemed
necessary, teachers provide what the government called
"enrichment" sessions, and numerous volunteers contribute
their time.

The women in the shelter are entitled to a working visa,
and shelter staff assist them in finding employment.
Professional training in fields such as computers,
English, cosmetics and hairdressing are offered. The
shelter also offered recreational options such as a
library, film club, activities such as music and sewing,
and two sightseeing trips in Israel, and personal
enrichment activities such as a motherhood workshop.

Isha L'Isha complained that the government does not fund
any treatment for trafficking victims who are outside of
the shelter.

-- B. Do foreign victims have the same access to care as
domestic trafficking victims?

The complaint among NGOs is the lack of facilities for
domestic trafficking victims, not the other way around.
Isha L'Isha charged that domestic trafficking victims are
not receiving treatment at all and "are forced to hide
their identity." The NGO also said that foreign victims
outside the shelter to no receive any medical treatment
or services from the Welfare Department.

According to the government, "no need for victims care
for Israel trafficking victims has been detected to this
date." Foreign victims who are in detention facilities
rather than the shelter (according to the government,
they are either "not identified as victims" or "do not
wish to go to the shelter") are provided with basic
necessities and medical care by the facilities of the
Immigration Administration and the Israel Prisons
Services. Victims who received visas, no longer reside
in the shelter, and are employed receive medical
insurance provided by their employer according to the
Foreign Workers Law. Legal aid is provided to every
trafficking victim, regardless of residence, through the
Legal Aid Department in MOJ.

Israel currently has no shelter specifically for labor
trafficking victims. In 2007, seven labor trafficking
victims were referred to the Maagan shelter. Government
Resolution 2670, passed December 2, 2007, approved a
budget for the establishment of a shelter and three

TEL AVIV 00000548 024 OF 037

apartments for victims of slavery and trafficking for
slavery and forced labor. The government acknowledged
and is studying the different needs that will need to be
addressed at the labor trafficking shelter as opposed to
the Maagan shelter for sex trafficking victims.

-- C. Does the country have specialized facilities
dedicated to helping victims of trafficking?

Yes, the shelter and services described in paragraph 21
section A.

-- D. If so, can post provide the number of victims
placed in these care facilities during the reporting

During 2007, 75 women and nine children resided in the
shelter, with an average stay of six months. 42 women
and seven children were residing in the shelter as of
February 2008. The shelter has a capacity of 50 women.

-- E. What is the funding source of these facilities?

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services
provided funding for the operation of the Maagan shelter,
the Ministry of Public Security provided funding for
security, and the Ministry of Health provided funding for
medical care.

-- F. Please estimate the amount the government spent (in
U.S. dollar equivalent) on these specialized facilities
dedicated to helping trafficking victims during the
reporting period.

The budget for Maagan shelter was $1,030,000 for
operations, $277,000 for security, and $100,000 for
medical care, a total of $1,407,000.

-- G. Does the government provide trafficking victims
with access to legal, medical and psychological services?
If so, please specify the kind of assistance provided,
and the number of victims assisted, if available.

Yes, as described above. The government reported that
ten women at Maagan shelter received psychiatric
treatment in 2007, 73 medical cases were referred to
Ichilov Hospital "mostly for gynecological reasons," and
that 94 percent of the women referred to the shelter
receive legal aid. Also as reported above, NGOs complain
that these services are not made available to internal
trafficking victims or victims residing outside the
Maagan shelter.

Hotline reported one case where a women coming out of the
hospital and in need of round-the-clock assistance was
denied entry to the Maagan shelter because it could not
provide her with appropriate care, and Hotline was asked
to find another alternative "within a few hours."

22. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section C of

TEL AVIV 00000548 025 OF 037

instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government provide funding or other forms
of support to foreign or domestic NGOs and/or
international organizations for services to trafficking
victims? Please explain and provide any funding amounts
in U.S. dollar equivalent. If assistance provided is in-
kind, please specify exact assistance. Please explain if
funding for assistance comes from a federal budget or
from regional or local governments.

The government cooperates with domestic NGOs providing
services to victims, but no government funding was
provided to the NGOs. According to the government, the
Immigration Authority, in cooperation with local NGOs,
provided funding to trafficking victims and foreign
workers and family members who wanted to leave Israel but
could not afford to pay for the flights.

23. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section D of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Do the government's law enforcement, immigration,
and social services personnel have a formal system of
proactively identifying victims of trafficking among
high-risk persons with whom they come in contact (e.g.,
foreign persons arrested for prostitution or immigration

For sex trafficking, the Immigration Authority circulated
checklists/guidelines and provided training to field
operatives and detention facilities officials on
identifying and locating victims of trafficking. The
government reported that referrals from NGOs such as
Hotline and Isha L'Isha were considered part of the basic
screening procedures.

For labor trafficking, Immigration Administration teams
met with foreign workers on a daily basis to inform them
of their rights and question them to identify any
trafficking victims, according to the government. The
information relayed to the workers was developed for
trafficking guidelines circulated by the government in
2007, which included information on terms of employment
(conveyed to both employer and employee, on issues such
as the employment contract, medical insurance, working
hours, pay, debt bondage, safety conditions, and
residence facilities) and denial of freedom (on issues
such as debt bondage, withholding of passports, access to
telephones, and the use of physical and verbal violence
against employees.)

Isha L'Isha noted disagreements regarding who constitutes
a trafficking victim. According to Hotline, the
Administrative Tribunal that oversees the cases of
foreigners detained prior to deportation is a
"particularly weak link" with trafficking case
"continually ... unidentified by the judges."

-- B. What is the number of victims identified during the

TEL AVIV 00000548 026 OF 037

reporting period?

No information was provided on this question.

-- C. Has the government developed and implemented a
referral process to transfer victims detained, arrested
or placed in protective custody by law enforcement
authorities to institutions that provide short-or long-
term care?

As reported in paragraph 21 section A, women who prima
facie seem to be sex trafficking victims are referred to
Maagan shelter without passing through detention
facilities. Foreign workers who are detained are
interviewed by a police officer and entitled to a hearing
before a representative of Interior. NGO representative
are also given access to detention facilities where they
can assist foreign workers, and can be present at
tribunal hearings with the worker's approval.

-- D. How many victims were referred for assistance by
law enforcement authorities during the reporting period?

No information was provided on this question.

24. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section E of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

A. For countries with legalized prostitution: does the
government have a mechanism for screening for trafficking
victims among persons involved in the legal/regulated
commercial sex trade?

While the act of prostitution is not criminalized,
prostitution is not legalized in Israel.

25. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section F of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Are the rights of victims respected?

The rights of victims are generally respected, although
complaints persist. NGOs have issues with perceived
barriers to accessing certain rights -- notably language
problems - and Hotline argued that sex trafficking
victims face difficulties with the legal system in
receiving legal redress, although it was not clear if
that was an issue for trafficking victims or an aspect of
the Israeli legal system for legal redress generally.
But NGO complaints about denial of rights focus on
individuals they consider to be labor trafficking
victims, but have not been so identified by the
government. Hotline noted one example where they said
they were "forced to submit a legal petition" each of the
seven times they requested a visa for a labor trafficking
"survivor," but did not clarify if and how that differed
from a normal visa application process.

-- B. Are trafficking victims detained or jailed?

TEL AVIV 00000548 027 OF 037

The government does not detain or jail individuals who
have been identified as trafficking victims. The benefit
of the doubt is generally given to possible sex
trafficking victims, and we have no reported complaints
of such individuals being classified as criminals in
2007. NGOs do complain that labor trafficking victims
are often not identified as such by the government.
Foreign workers residing in Israel illegally are detained
in facilities separated from criminal detainees.

-- C. If detained or jailed, for how long?

Victims who are to be deported can be detained until

-- D. Are victims fined?


-- E. Are victims prosecuted for violations of other
laws, such as those governing immigration or

No. Isha L'Isha reported one case where a victim was
jailed for armed robbery and false documents, received
treatment from the Welfare Department, and is now

26. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section G of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government encourage victims to assist in
the investigation and prosecution of trafficking?

Yes, in sex trafficking cases. It is unclear in labor
trafficking cases, due to the small number of labor
trafficking victims that the government identified.
Legal aid did assist 12 victims of labor trafficking in
10 lawsuits.

-- B. How many victims assisted in the investigation and
prosecution of traffickers during the reporting period?

The government reported that 12 of the 34 women directed
to the shelter during 2007 refused to testify, 12 agreed
but were eventually not required to do so, five are
awaiting testimony, 1 concluded her testimony, and 3 left
the shelter before their testimony was given.

-- C. May victims file civil suits or seek legal action
against traffickers?

Yes. Victims may also initiate petitions to the High
Court of Justice against government agencies, if they so

-- D. Does anyone impede victim access to such legal

There are NGO complaints about victims' lack of knowledge

TEL AVIV 00000548 028 OF 037

of the law, lack of representation, lack of
identification as a victim, low redress awards, and
difficulties in collecting from the traffickers redress
awarded by the courts. But while Isha L'Isha complained
of what they called a "Kafkaesque" Interior policy
regarding trafficking victims, and Kav LaOved voiced
concerns that threats from traffickers intimidated some
victims from seeking redress, there were no reports of
any government action to intentionally impede access to
legal redress.

-- E. If a victim is a material witness in a court case
against a former employer, is the victim permitted to
obtain other employment or to leave the country pending
trial proceedings?

Yes. NGOs note that other employment can be difficult to
find, but agreed that the government provided the option
to do so.

-- F. Are there means by which a victim may obtain

There is no victim restitution program other than the
right to file civil and administrative lawsuits, and
court awarded compensation in criminal cases.

27. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section H of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. What kind of protection is the government able to
provide for victims and witnesses? Does it provide these
protections in practice?

There is currently no working witness protection program.
On February 10, 2008 the Ministerial Committee on
Legislation and Law Enforcement approved a bill entitle
"The Witness Protection Program Law" aimed at creating a
basis for establishing the Authority for the Protection
of Witness in Israel in the Ministry of Public Security.

Along with its other roles, the Maagan shelter provided
protection for sex trafficking victims who were
testifying against their traffickers. The shelter also
operates the "Safe Return" project through contact with
NGOs in origin countries.

Police Intelligence, with the assistance of Interpol and
the Israeli Police delegate abroad, prepare risk
assessments when presented with evidence of danger to a
trafficking victim.

-- B. What type of shelter or services does the
government provide?

Answered in previous questions regarding the Maagan

-- C. Are these services provided directly by the
government or are they provided by NGOs or IOs funded by

TEL AVIV 00000548 029 OF 037

host government grants?

The services associated with the government are provided
directly by the government. There is no funding of NGOs
or IOs by host government grants for services to
trafficking victims.

-- D. Does the government provide shelter or housing
benefits to victims or other resources to aid the victims
in rebuilding their lives?

Answered previously.

-- E. Where are child victims placed (e.g., in shelters,
foster care, or juvenile justice detention centers)?

Israel has not identified a problem in sex trafficking of
minors. Children of trafficking victims are housed in
the same facilities as their mother, such as the Maagan

-- F. What is the number of victims assisted by
government-funded assistance programs during the
reporting period?

No information provided, other than the 75 women and nine
children who received services in the Maagan shelter
during 2007.

-- G. What is the number of victims assisted by non
government-funded assistance programs?

Hotline reported that they assisted 49 sex trafficking
victims and 32 labor trafficking cases. Isha L'Isha
reported that they assisted 49 sex trafficking victims.

-- H. What is the number of victims that received shelter
services during the reporting period?

As reported previously, 75 women and nine children
received services in the Maagan shelter during 2007.

28. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section I of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government provide any specialized
training for government officials in identifying
trafficking victims and in the provision of assistance to
trafficked victims, including the special needs of
trafficked children?

Yes, the government provided many specialized training
sessions in 2007 for government officials, both in
identifying trafficking victims and in providing
assistance to trafficking victims. Examples included a
seminar on trafficking by the Institute for Judicial
Training of the MOJ, attended by State and District
Attorney representatives; courses in the Investigations
and Intelligence Training School; routine updates and
guidelines issued by Legal Aid Department of MOJ; two

TEL AVIV 00000548 030 OF 037

toolkits developed by the National Coordinator to
identify labor trafficking; training for Immigration
Administration officers on issues such as inter alia, the
right to dignity and liberty, and xenophobia; guidelines
for giving legal aid to victims for Tel Aviv and Haifa
legal aid office lawyers; and a seminar co-hosted by the
Haifa Legal Aid Office and Hotline that dealt with issues
such as legal representation of minors.

Isha L'Isha reported that there is "more and more"
prevention activity and identification of trafficking
victims. "NGOs are invited to various events which are
held by the government to talk with government
representatives on identification for trafficking victims
and raising awareness on the issue."

-- B. Does the government provide training on protections
and assistance to its embassies and consulates in foreign
countries that are destination or transit countries?

The training program that Israeli diplomats must undergo
before starting their mission abroad includes a chapter
on trafficking in persons. In a related vein, Isha
L'Isha said they organized the seminar the government
conducted in early 2007 for representatives of Eastern
European embassies regarding steps being taken by Israel
to combat trafficking in women.

-- C. Does it urge those embassies and consulates to
develop ongoing relationships with NGOs and IOs that
serve trafficked victims?

MFA encouraged Israeli embassies to develop and maintain
relationships with NGOs and IOs on trafficking issues.
In January 2007, MITL in cooperation with the Israeli
Ambassador to Thailand launched an information booklet in
Thai on the rights of foreign workers in Israel, which
was attached to the passport of every worker who received
a visa.

-- D. What is the number of trafficking victims assisted
by the host country's embassies or consulates abroad
during the reporting period? Please explain the level of
assistance. For example, did the host government provide
travel documents for the victim to repatriate, did the
host government contact NGOs in either the source or
destination countries to ensure the victim received
adequate assistance, did the host government pay for the
transportation home for a victim's repatriation, etc.

With the understanding that this refers to any Israelis
who might have been trafficked abroad, there were no such
reported cases by the government.

29. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section J of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government provide assistance, such as
medical aid, shelter, or financial help, to its nationals
who are repatriated as victims of trafficking?

TEL AVIV 00000548 031 OF 037

Not applicable.

30. Response to questions in paragraph 29, section K of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Which international organizations or NGOs, if any,
work with trafficking victims?

The Center for International Migration and Immigration,
Hotline for Migrant Workers, Isha L'Isha Haifa Feminist
Center, the Israeli AIDS Task Force, Kav LaOved, Keshet
(which runs the Maagan shelter under government
supervision), Machon Toda'a, and the Task Force on Human
Trafficking are six prominent Israeli NGOs that work with
trafficking victims. International NGOs that work with
sex trafficking victims in Israel include the Angel
Coalition, IOM Belarus, IOM Chisinau-Moldova, IOM Moscow,
IOM Ukraine, IOM Uzbekistan, Istikamboli Avlod
Uzbekistan, La Strada in Moldova, the Odessa (Ukraine)
Public Movement "Faith, Hope, Love", Physicians for Human
Rights, the St. Petersburg INGI Crisis Center for Women,
and Winrock Russia. UNHCR and Amnesty International work
with refugees, who can become trafficking victims.

-- B. What type of services do they provide?

Each organization provides a different set of services to
a different group of victims. A partial list of the
kinds of services they provide includes: protection;
absorption; victim's hotline; economic assistance;
temporary shelter; legal representation; legal advocacy;
job training; psychiatric treatment; medical treatment;
greeting women at the airport when they land in the
source country; and helping the women to safely arrive
home from the airport.

-- C. What sort of cooperation do they receive from local

Isha L'Isha reported that IOM in all countries has
significant influence on the government, but that other
NGOs have less influence, and specifically that all NGOs
in Russia have "no influence whatsoever on the
government." Isha L'Isha added that IOM Uzbekistan has
no influence on the government, but that there is
cooperation between them.

-- D. How much funding (in U.S. Dollar Equivalent) did
NGOs and international organizations receive from the
host government for victim assistance during the
reporting period? Please disaggregate funding for
prevention and public awareness efforts from victim
assistance funding. NOTE: If post reports that a
government is incapable of providing direct assistance to
TIP victims, please assess whether the government ensures
that TIP victims receive access to adequate care from
other entities. Funding, personnel, and training
constraints should be noted, if applicable. Conversely,
the lack of political will in a situation where a country

TEL AVIV 00000548 032 OF 037

has adequate financial and other resources to address the
problem should be noted as well.

The government cooperated with NGOs and IOs in many ways,
including joint hosting of conferences and NGO
participation in creating the national plans for
combating trafficking, but the GOI did not provide any
direct funding to NGOs or IOs for anti-trafficking

Isha L'Isha charged that there is an acute problem "and
the sources is all the above: lack of funding; lack of
personnel; and in many cases, lack of will." Isha L'Isha
also quoted research by Dr. Miriam Shif from the School
of Social Work and Shivtati Levit of the Methadone Center
in Jerusalem that said "in the past few years in Israel,
there has been a drastic increase in the privatization of
numerous social services the state is obliged to provide
by law" and private organizations and business
corporations are being given the responsibility to care
for many vulnerable populations.


31. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section A of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government acknowledge that trafficking is
a problem in the country? If not, why not?

The government has publicly acknowledged on numerous
occasions that trafficking is a problem in Israel, and
has taken numerous steps to raise public awareness of the

32. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section B of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Are there, or have there been, government-run anti-
trafficking information or education campaigns conducted
during the reporting period?

Yes, several.

-- B. If so, briefly describe the campaign(s), including
their objectives and effectiveness.

The Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women,
a part of the PMO, carried out activities in various
parts of the public sector. In cooperation with the Unit
for Gender Equality in the Ministry of Education, the
Authority conducted awareness campaigns in the school
system that included seminars for administrators and
presentations for teachers. In cooperation with the
National Coordinator, the Authority prepared information
on trafficking that was disseminated to supervisors at a
seminar on December 2, 2007. In September 2007, the
Authority and the Chairman of the Union of Local

TEL AVIV 00000548 033 OF 037

Authorities disseminated trafficking awareness
information to all heads of local authorities in Israel,
and the Chairman of the Local Authorities instructed that
the issue of trafficking in women be integrated into
every training activity the local authorities. The
government reported that such training has already begun.
On December 2, 2007, in cooperation with the Tel Aviv
Municipality and the Union of Local Authorities, and
several NGOs, the Authority held a national conference
titled "Women Trafficking - Modern Slavery."

On December 2, 2007, the government created a national
award for persons who contributed to the fight against
human trafficking.

MITL issued a special workers' rights brochure for the
construction industry in English, Russian, Romanian,
Turkish, Thai and Chinese. MITL also began distributing
a brochure -- in Hebrew, English, Chinese, Thai, Russian,
Romanian and Turkish -- setting out general labor rights
of foreign workers in Israel to every foreign workers
upon their arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, and posted the
brochure on its website.

The National Coordinator participated in numerous
seminars and conferences, and gave lectures at several
universities and young leaders programs.

The Director of the Maagan shelter gave several lectures
at government agencies and schools.

The Police approved the text for a brochure to be
circulated by Hotline in police stations regarding the
rights of trafficking victims.

The Immigration Police ran a radio campaign that warned
employers not to exploit migrant workers.

The Ministry of Education held five conferences for
members of the education system in order to raise
awareness on trafficking issues.

The Israel Broadcast Authority ran television and radio
programs on the subject of trafficking.

The government conducted a training session for 200
prosecutors on trafficking in women.

Isha L'Isha noted that the police invite NGOs to their
training session on trafficking in women.

Other government activities included a call against human
trafficking that was disseminated to all heads of the
kibbutzim movement, and an IDF pledge to conduct
educational activities on trafficking.

Many of the programs described above dealt with labor
trafficking as well as sex trafficking.

-- C. Please provide the number of people reached by such

TEL AVIV 00000548 034 OF 037

awareness efforts if available.

No estimates were available, but the programs reached
large numbers of people within various arms of the
government and in the general public.

-- D. Do these campaigns target potential trafficking
victims and/or the demand for trafficking (e.g. "clients"
of prostitutes or beneficiaries of forced labor)?

Some of the programs, such as the MITL brochures,
targeted potential victims. The Immigration
Administration ran campaigns targeting potential
beneficiaries of trafficking, warning them of
consequences of exploitation.

33. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section C of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. What is the relationship between government
officials, NGOs, other relevant organizations and other
elements of civil society on the trafficking issue?

There is strong cooperation among NGOs. Despite
frustration in some quarters over what they consider lack
of enforcement of the new trafficking law, NGOs report
excellent working relationship with the National
Coordinator and many elements of the government,
including the police. NGO complaints persist regarding
alleged resistance in Interior. Hotline noted that they
"found that the higher up in government we go, the
stronger the cooperation" but that cooperation on the
lower levels is often difficult. Isha L'Isha noted that
the government is making efforts to implement prevention
actions, and that its work in all aspects of prevention
can be noted positively, especially the work of Marit
Danon Authority for the Advancement of Women. While they
complimented government-NGO cooperation generally, Isha
L'Isha and Machon Toda'a voiced several complaints
against Interior in their response for this report.

34. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section D of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government monitor immigration and
emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking?

The government reported that Interior monitored new
patterns of trafficking using forged documents or
fictitious marriages. Isha L'Isha noted that the
government is "making efforts."

-- B. Do law enforcement agencies screen for potential
trafficking victims along borders?

According to the government, "border controllers are
skilled at detecting passport forgeries."

35. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section E of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

TEL AVIV 00000548 035 OF 037

-- A. Is there a mechanism for coordination and
communication between various agencies, internal,
international, and multilateral on trafficking-related
matters, such as a multi-agency working group or a task
force? Does the government have a trafficking in persons
working group or single point of contact?

Yes, the National Coordinator, who works out of MOJ,
coordinates multi-agency cooperation and working groups,
and is the first point of contact in the government on
trafficking issues. The National Coordinator also heads
a multi-agency permanent round table that meets
periodically to map out problems and strategies. In
addition, the Knesset Subcommittee on Trafficking in
Women and the Knesset Special Committee on Foreign
Workers serve as forums for debate on trafficking issues,
and monitor measures taken to address trafficking.

-- B. Does the government have a public corruption task

A inter-agency Implementation Committee in "The Battle
against Severe Crime and Organized Crime and their
Outcomes" is charged with developing operational
mechanism and performance measures on issues such as
intelligence fusion and money laundering, some of which
include elements of investigating public corruption.

36. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section F of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Does the government have a national plan of action
to address trafficking in persons?

Yes. On December 2, 2007, Government Resolution 2670
approved the National Plan to Combat Trafficking for
Prostitution and the National Plan to Combat Trafficking
for Labor.

-- B. If so, which agencies were involved in developing

MOJ, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Social
Affairs, Interior, MITL, MFA, Ministry of Health, Israel
Police, PMO, State Attorney's Office, Authority for the
Advancement of Women, and the Director of the Maagan

-- C. Were NGOs consulted in the process?

Yes, including Hotline, Kav LaOved, Isha L'Isha, Machon
Toda'a, Atzum, Amnesty International and Physicians for
Human Rights.

-- D. What steps has the government taken to disseminate
the action plan?

A synopsis of the National Plan was published on the MOJ

TEL AVIV 00000548 036 OF 037

37. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section G of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A: For all posts: As part of the new criteria added
to the TVPA's minimum standards by the 2005 TVPRA, what
measures has the government taken during the reporting
period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts?
(see ref B, para. 9(3) for examples)

On December 2, 2007 - The International Day for the
Abolition of Slavery - the Ministry of Education
circulated information throughout the educational system
on the issue of trafficking in women. The information
focused on the issue of demand, and the education
system's role in reducing demand for sexual services and
pornography, through education on human dignity and

October 16, 2007 the Parliamentary Subcommittee held a
special session, attended by the Swedish Trafficking
Ambassador and high ranking representatives of the
Philippine and French embassies in Israel, that included
discussion on preventing trafficking and presentations of
the trafficking situation in the respective countries.

The National Plan to Combat Trafficking for Prostitution
authorized research to consider legislation to
criminalize purchasing prostitution services. The
research has been completed by the Office of the National
Coordinator and is in the process of being edited and
submitted to the Deputy Attorney General for Criminal
Matters for consideration.

38. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section H of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Required of Posts in EU countries and posts in
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Singapore,
South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong: As part of the new
criteria added to the TVPA's minimum standards by the
2005 TVPRA, what measures has the government taken during
the reporting period to reduce the participation in
international child sex tourism by nationals of the

Not applicable.

39. Response to questions in paragraph 30, section I of
instructions cable. (Reftel A)

-- A. Required of posts in countries that have
contributed over 100 troops to international peacekeeping
efforts (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh,
Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia,
Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia,
Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece,
Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy,
Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco,
Namibia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria,

TEL AVIV 00000548 037 OF 037

Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar,
Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa,
Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia,
Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Zambia, and
Zimbabwe): What measures has the government adopted to
ensure that its nationals who are deployed abroad as part
of a peacekeeping or other similar mission do not engage
in or facilitate severe forms of trafficking or exploit
victims of such trafficking?

Not applicable.
Not applicable.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC