An Israeli lawyer on Tuesday told a parliamentary panel investigating the country's sex trade that "selling women is like selling football players,” according to Haaretz newspaper.
"There's no difference between trading football players, high-tech programmers or surgeons, and selling women for purposes of prostitution," said attorney Yaacov Shklar, appearing before the committee.
The Knesset set up the committee after a damning report on sex slavery in Israel was published by the London-based human rights group Amnesty International late last year.
Amnesty said a large number of women from the former Soviet Union had become sex objects in Israel, bought and sold for several thousand dollars by traffickers or made to live in servitude through debt.
Most of those involved in the trafficking and abuse are never brought to justice by the Israeli authorities, it said.
Shklar claimed the cost of bringing women into Israel illegally forced owners of massage parlors and escort services to recoup their expenses by trading the women with other pimps, according to Haaretz.
Shklar and a number of other lawyers, who represent pimps, were called before the panel in the wake of a recent decision by Supreme Court President Justice Aharon Barak calling for an end to the practice of pimps' lawyers representing prostitutes arrested for being illegal aliens, the paper said.
In his verdict, which dealt with the case of a woman smuggled into Israel and forced into prostitution, Barak said the pimps used their lawyers to free women from custody before they were deported, to get the women back into the brothels -- even though the only way out of the clutches of the pimps is deportation.
Another attorney, Walid Z'halka, told the committee that "99 percent of the women brought here for prostitution knew that's what they were coming [to Israel] for.”
"The police would take action against the trade in women if the women were Israelis. But because they are Russians, the police don't take the initiative,” he was quoted as saying – Albawaba.com
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