The Market for Women – by “Ma’aglei Tzedek” – 20/02/2006
Five thousand dollars – that is the price of a woman in Israel in the year 2006.
This is not a mistake! As part of the developing slave market in the state of Israel, and within the framework of the market in women, it is possible for a man to “buy” a woman and do with her whatever he pleases. A short journey to the
“backyard” of the country, in a place such as the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, will reveal this shocking fact, something which is so close to us and yet at the same time so very far away.
The trade in women in this country began in the early 90’s. According to current estimates, about 7,000 women are currently involved in prostitution, and about
3,000 more are smuggled into the country every year. They all have similar profiles: Young women with problematic family backgrounds, among them orphans
who wandered in the streets or suffered from sexual abuse and neglect. Another common trait of these women is the deep poverty and an almost complete lack of
education. Most of these women arrive here thinking that they will be able to gather a large amount of money in a short time, but they quickly discover a reality that is very different from what they imagined before they arrived in the country.
Why Don’t the Women Run Away?
The activities of the merchants and their partners are characterized by a fraud perpetrated on these unfortunate women. This includes falsified documents, illegal entry and being smuggled across the borders, imprisoning the women in
secret houses, violence, abuse, and applied pressure. The purpose of all of this is to prevent them from running away. The slave trade is based on an approach of
fear and coercion that lead the women to give up and not fight their masters. It is clear that this modern form of slavery is worse than what was accepted in ancient times or at the time of the Civil War in the United States. In the past,
the slave was a relatively valuable item, one that an owner wanted to take care of and keep healthy. The modern brand of slavery is based on contempt for human life. The supply is on the increase, because of the increase of the phenomenon
of poverty. Under these conditions, the traders see the women as expendable, something that can be easily replaced.
Our tendency to close our ears to the cries of these suffering women is in direct contrast to the demands of the Torah. The only prohibition of “Do not steal” [Shemot 20:13] that is punishable by death is that of kidnapping: “One
who steals a man and sells him… shall be put to death” [21:16]. Our sages explain that if the kidnapper makes even the slightest use of the victim, even if he just leans on him, he is to be punished by death. All the more so is this
true if women are made to engage in prostitution, with their bodies transformed into objects of commerce, sold as mere flesh in a market.
The only way to eliminate this scourge is a combination of public awareness, broad educational activity, and improved laws that are strictly enforced.
NOTE: I am sure that this situation is worse in the US — by many times. But I observed this when I was in israel and it profoundly disturbed me. The contradictions are just one more example of how westernized Israel is and how, like the US, the corruption is there for all to see. How tragic.