Human Traffic Watch

Trafficking victims, some as young as 14, languish in Israeli jails

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on September 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

More than 20 Ethiopian women and girls, whom the state has officially recognized as victims of human trafficking, have spent the past 5 months incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

Refugees in Saharonim jail. For many trafficking victims, there is no end in sight. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkovitz

They were kidnapped from their homeland, beaten, raped, bound hand and foot, and dumped on Israeli soil. The more than 20 women and girls from Ethiopia whom the state has officially recognized as victims of human trafficking have been free from their abductors for the past five months – and they have spent that time incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

For many of them, there is still no end in sight.

Under Israeli law, the entire group should have been given treatment to help them through their ordeal and about half of them – girls aged 14 or 15, classified as unaccompanied minors – should have been placed in boarding schools. But the Education Ministry has refused to accept them, and they have remained in the Givon and Saharonim jails – both of which house adults, not other minors.

The adults were supposed to have been sent to Maagan, a shelter for female victims of trafficking run by the Social Affairs Ministry. This isn’t an option for the girls, because the shelter says it isn’t equipped to handle minors. But in any case, Maagan is already full. So the women have remained at Givon and Saharonim as well.

By law, trafficking victims are supposed to be held in jail only until an alternative can be found. And for minors, the law explicitly specifies a maximum limit of no more than 60 days. These girls have already been held for three months beyond that limit.

Source: Haaretz

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