Jewish Dominance in the Prostitution Industry


Selling Sex in Israel. Jewsweek, July 18, 2001

"This disturbing story unfolds all too often at the hotline for Migrant Workers, a Tel Aviv agency founded in 1998 to protect the human rights of foreign workers, victims of sex trafficking among them ... Director and co-founder Sigal Rozen, along with the group’s counsel, Nomi Levenkron, were in Washington, D.C. ...

In an interview, Rozen called sex trafficking an 'unorganized crime,' based largely on personal networks of immigrants from the Ukraine, Russia, and Moldova. ... Those three countries alone accounted for 91 percent of the 474 women arrested in brothels and deported from Israel in 2000, according to figures compiled by hotline volunteers during visits to the Neveh Tirzah women’s prison. These statistics represent only a fraction of the problem.

Police spokespersons have set the number of women brought into the country to work in the sex industry at 2,000-3,000 annually, the number of brothels at 250, Rozen said."

Human Rights Abuses Affecting Trafficked Women in Israel's Sex Industry. Amnesty International, May 18, 2000 [MDE 15/017/2000]

"Although official statistics are not available, it is widely believed that in the past few years thousands of women, including some girls, from FSU [former Soviet Union] countries have been trafficked to Israel to work in the sex industry. Under Israeli laws, virtually all these women are illegal aliens. They are in Israel without work permits or with false documents, which makes them particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses at the hands of traffickers, pimps and others involved in Israel's sex industry.

Amnesty International has received many reports of trafficked women being subjected to various human rights abuses, such as enslavement and other restrictions on their liberty, as well as torture, including rape and other forms of sexual abuse ...

Amnesty International has received information indicating that in many instances women trafficked from FSU countries are literally bought and sold for large sums of money, often in auctions where they are purchased by the highest bidder. Some are held in debt bondage where they are forced to work to pay off large sums of money. Some women are kidnapped against their will in FSU countries or are lured to Israel under false pretences, and brought to work in the sex industry.

Their 'owners' restrict their movements in order to prevent them from leaving. There are many reports of women being imprisoned by their 'owners' in locked houses and apartments and prevented from going out unaccompanied."

Prostitution in the Land of the Maccabees: Trafficking in Women in Israel. Social Action, [], "a Jewish Online Magazine."

"Today, the prostitute in Tel Aviv is more likely to be named Olga than Rachel, and she's not an Israeli, or in Israel legally. She's one of the more than 2,000 to 2,500 women from former Soviet republics brought into Israel by international traffickers to feed a $450 million-a-year prostitution industry centered around Tel Aviv.

The money paid for her body goes to the man she's been sold to. Assault and rape are common ways of keeping 'employees' in line in this business, and the only way a woman will leave Israel's sex industry is if she comes to the attention of the Israeli authorities who will deport her, penniless and traumatized, back to Eastern Europe ...

Very rarely, a particularly horrific story will make its way from the Israeli press to American Jewish listserves. When the most recent of these motivated me to get out there and see what I could do to help, I discovered that there is apparently no Jewish organization in the United States or Canada working to raise awareness of trafficking issues in Israel, or bring American Jewish money and influence to bear on the situation. Why should this be an issue for the American Jewish community? After all, most of the women affected are not Jewish."

Factbook on Global Sex Exploitation: Israel. Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

"Traffickers and pimps earned US$50,000 - 100,000 a year from each prostituted woman, resulting in a US$450 million sex industry. ('A modern form of slavery,' The Jerusalem Post, 13 January 1998)

1,500 Russian and Ukrainian trafficked women have been deported from 1995-1997. (Michael Specter, 'Traffickers’ New Cargo: Naive Slavic Women,' New York Times, 11 January 1998)

Russian women are bought and sold by pimps in Israel for prices ranging from US$5,000 to $20,000. (Police sources, ''Invisible' Women Shown In Russia's Demographics,' Martina Vandenberg, St. Petersburg Times, 13 October 1997)

A small brothel with ten women can make up to 750,000 shekels a month (US $215,000). (Michael Specter, 'Traffickers’ New Cargo: Naive Slavic Women," New York Times, 11 January 1998)

Women trafficked from Eastern Europe, were stripped and sold naked as slaves to Tel Aviv traders for US$500-1,000. Smuggling, fraudulent documents, collaboration between police and brothel owners are involved. There are routine brutal beatings and sexual abuse. (New York Times 11 January 1998)."

BGU Publishes First Study of local Prostitutes. Jerusalem Post, July 31, 2001

"A first-ever Israeli academic study on the medical and emotional condition of prostitutes has found that most risk HIV and hepatitis C infection through unprotected oral sex, and many suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ...

They reported in private interviews of having an average of 12 clients a day during the week, and during peak days (weekends and holidays) about 30 in a 24-hour period. Two-fifths worked daily except for a single day off a month. They earned a monthly average of only $1,285, and those with family abroad sent most of it to support them, while their personal expenses were paid by the brothel owners."

Cantor Charged in Prostitution Ring. Jerusalem Post, January 31, 2000

"Members of Chicago's Jewish community are expressing shock and dismay about the arrest of a former synagogue cantor and his wife of a few weeks. The two were charged in connection with a prostitution ring. Joel Gordon, 51, who has served at several Chicago-area synagogues, was charged November 21 with keeping a house of prostitution following a police raid on three massage parlors, operated out of private apartments in the northern suburbs. His wife, Alison Ginsberg, 23, was charged with prostitution and keeping a house of prostitution. Gordon was most recently the cantor and spiritual leader of Congregation Shirat Emet, a now-defunct synagogue in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, Illinois."

Federal Prosecutors Try to Keep Boca Rabbi Jailed, Calling Him a Menace. Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, July 20, 2001

"Responding to a jailed rabbi's appeal that he be allowed to await trial in a psychological program, federal prosecutors this week argued that Jerrold Levy remains a threat to the community and a flight risk ... Prosecutors said they have developed additional evidence that Levy distributed child pornography to other people, received child pornography from a minor contacted in an Internet chat room, and pursued other minors ... In their response to Levy's appeal, prosecutors said there is 'overwhelming' evidence against Levy to support their existing nine charges of child pornography and using the Internet to entice a juvenile. Last week, Levy, a former associate rabbi at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, filed an emergency motion for release from prison as he waits to hear about an appeal."

Atlanta Strip Club Scandal Marks Return of 'Our Gang.' [Jewish] Forward, June 29, 2001

"Our boys are still out there, I'm very proud to say,' said Alan Block, a professor of Jewish studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a noted authority on Jewish organized crime in America and overseas. They're running penny-stock scams and providing support for Colombian drug cartels, Mr. Block said. And they're still, in many cases, chummy with the leaders of the old time Italian mob.

That is certainly what federal prosecutors are alleging against the flamboyant bar owner Steve Kaplan in the United States district court in Atlanta ... Prosecutors are trying to prove that the flashy 40-year old used his popular Atlanta strip club, the Gold Club, as a front for a prostitution ring that provided high-priced hookers to big name athletes, laundered money and paid protection money to the Gambino crime family in New York ...

Over the past several years, Jewish names have surfaced in connection with penny stock scams, in which gangs of aggressive young mobsters corner the market on low-valued stocks, then drive prices up before unloading them ... The ability to adapt has made Jewish mobsters a more difficult target for organized crime investigators ... That sense of internationalism, Mr. Block said, has always been an ace-in-the-hole for Jewish crime syndicates ... Although Jewish mobsters are not immune federal prosecution ... investigators ... have tended to overlook Jewish connections in organized crime, Mr. Block said. The result, he said, is that the Jewish American syndicates have been pretty much free to continue their work in a kind of comfortable anonymity."

Heidi Fleiss Gets 3 Years. E Online, January 7, 1997

"A Los Angeles judge gave 'Hollywood madam' Heidi Fleiss 37 months for federal charges of tax evasion and money laundering today, far less than the 7 to 9 years asked by prosecutors. She'll also perform 300 hours of community service and pay a $400 fine ...Since her arrest, Fleiss has opened a legitimate business, a lingerie company. On the other hand, she was also busted for violating probation by using methamphetamine ... Fleiss still faces state charges of pandering (she was convicted in state court in 1994 but ordered to stand trial again after juror misconduct came to light) ... The feds claimed that Fleiss laundered at least $300,000 in illicit income through her family's bank accounts. Her father, pediatrician-to-the-stars Paul Fleiss, pled guilty to income tax evasion for his role in the scheme."

The Fleiss Family Bed
. LA Weekly, April 27-May 3, 2001

"'Children are our ultimate investment,' Los Feliz pediatrician Paul Fleiss says at a signing for his newly released book, Sweet Dreams: A Pediatrician’s Secrets for Your Child’s Good Night’s Sleep. 'We want them to grow up strong and smart. Most importantly, we want them to take care of us.' This wish hasn’t always come true for the gray-, curly-headed Fleiss, the father of notorious Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss. Four months after Heidi was convicted on felony pandering charges, authorities charged him with hiding the profits from his daughter’s call-girl ring and with acting as the go-between in the purchase of her home, a $1.6 million spread once owned by Michael Douglas [son of Jewish actor Kirk Douglas]. Dr. Fleiss pleaded guilty to making false statements to the IRS and conspiracy, and received a sentence of three years’ probation and community service, which included volunteering at the Los Angeles Free Clinic. In addition, the medical board put him on probation for one year."

The Still-Happy Hooker. Moment, February 1, 2001

"[Xaviera Hollander] invited me to Amsterdam to perform, telling me that she, too, was the child of a Holocaust survivor. When I heard that, I was speechless. I remembered Xaviera Hollander as a blonde, long-legged shiksa, the author of a sexually explicit tell-all book—the most famous prostitute in the world. As it turns out, Hollander (her nom de plume, an homage to her birthplace; she was born Xaviera De Vries) is no shiksa. Her father was a Dutch Jewish psychiatrist ... She took a job at a New York call-girl agency to augment her meager salary, eventually becoming a full-time prostitute. But it was not just an economic decision: 'I loved having sex,' she says. 'Since I was sleeping around every night anyway, I figured I might as well get paid for it.' That’s when a business opportunity came along, and she grabbed it, spending her entire savings—$10,000—on the client list of a retiring Park Avenue madam. She began running a high-end brothel out of a brownstone on the Upper East Side, where her clients included a man who asked a lot of questions, soon arousing Hollander’s suspicion. The man turned out to be Eric Kohn, a Jewish journalist researching a book. The two decided to collaborate on an autobiographical account of Hollander’s life, and one year later The Happy Hooker exploded onto the scene—eventually selling 16 million copies ... She even lived for a while with Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione. But shortly thereafter she came under the scrutiny of the Knapp Commission, which had been set up by Mayor John V. Lindsay to investigate malpractice and corruption in the New York City Police Department. (The commission was investigating cops who had gone to Hollander’s brothel.) Hollander decided to move to Canada to avoid prosecution ... Addicted to diet pills and unable to control her kleptomania ('I got orgasms from stealing,' she says), she was arrested for stealing a $40 nightgown. That theft, coupled with the fact that she was a confessed criminal in the States, led to her eventual deportation and divorce."

Traffic Jam, Jerusalem Post, July 13, 2000

"Women who are being forced to work as prostitutes against their will are considered criminals rather than victims. Kidnapping, threats, forgery, assault, pimping, rape, and holding prisoners. These are the charges against 18-year-old Boris Yasser from Ashdod, who was remanded last week by Ramle Magistrate's Court. He is accused of helping his father smuggle four women into the country from the Ukraine and forcing them to work as prostitutes. The women (aged 19 to 22) who were subjected to these acts were also arrested. Their crime was entering the country illegally and holding false IDs. That they were victimized while they were here does not mitigate the fact that they violated Israeli law by entering the country illegally, Central District Police Spokeswoman Ch.-Supt. Sivan Kedmi said ...

The women told police that they had been offered jobs as saleswomen. Upon accepting the jobs, they were brought here from the Ukraine via Cyprus. They were smuggled into Haifa Port on April 31. Their employers then confiscated their passports and gave them fake IDs, which listed them as Jewish Israelis. Two of the women were 'sold' to a brothel in Tel Aviv for $3,000 each. The other two were imprisoned in a Rishon Lezion apartment and forced to work as prostitutes. Customers would call the apartment to order prostitutes. Yasser would drive the women to various locations to serve between 15 and 20 customers a day. The women were virtual prisoners and did not receive a share of the money the pimps collected from customers. One of the women was severely beaten when she tried to escape. She later managed to telephone her parents in the Ukraine to ask for help. Her parents contacted the Ukrainian Embassy here, which passed the complaint on to police this week."

Undercover Police Bust Country's Largest Prostitution Ring, Ha'aretz (Israel), May 20, 2002

"An undercover police agent who paid NIS 50,000 to purchase rights to use three women from Moldavia as sex workers, led to the exposure of what police called Sunday the 'largest prostitution network' to be found in Israel. Counting this latest sting operation, Tel Aviv police have busted five prostitution networks in 2002. The major police crackdown in recent months has tracked down suspects along the entire 'food chain' that thrives on the exploitation of sex workers. The prostitution racket starts in the CIS; middlemen fly the women to Egypt; the women are smuggled without any snags across the border to Israel, where traders wait for them in Eilat; these salesmen, the last links in the global chain, bring the women to massage parlor owners in the center of the country. The women, who are usually in their 20s, get passed from one handler to the next, and undergo physical abuse and torments which often involves rape perpetrated by traders who want to check their 'merchandise.'"

Israel: Brisk trade in 'sex slaves', News 24, December 8, 2002 [same story here at The Globe and Mail]

"About 3,000 women, mainly from the former Soviet Union, are sold each year into a brisk Israeli sex industry that takes in about $1bn annually, a parliamentary report said on Sunday, slamming the justice system for being lax on punishments. The women, seeking to escape poverty at home, are usually smuggled in by traffickers who promise them legitimate jobs. Once in Israel, they are sold for between $3 000 and $6 000 each. They receive $25 - $30 per customer, of which the pimp takes between 80 and 90%, the preliminary report said. The women work about 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week and receive an average of 10 to 15 clients daily, it added. Often, the women live in dismal conditions and sometimes they are physically abused or live in fear of their pimps, the report said. Israeli courts generally reach a plea bargain with the pimps and sentence them to either a few months of community service or up to an average of two years in prison, punishments which the committee said are too weak to serve as deterrents. It suggested that these crimes should have minimum prison sentences to deter the sex traders, who sexually exploit the women and often jail, blackmail and enslave them. In July 2001, a US State Department report placed Israel in the third section of its 'black list' on countries whose laws don't meet US criteria for dealing with this crime and threatened economic sanctions."

Stuck in traffic. Hundreds of women are smuggled into Israel each year and turned into human property, and hundreds of criminals take part in this chain of commerce that begins in Eastern Europe and usually ends in a Tel Aviv brothel. Pitted against them are a handful of police officers, state prosecutors and judges, all of whom are staggering under an impossible burden,
by Aviv Lavie, Ha'aretz (Israel), January 5, 2002

"The traffic in women, a thriving sector of the Israeli economy over the past decade, would apparently have continued to flourish unchecked if not for three things that took place in quick succession in 2000: Amnesty International published a report that was very critical about the situation in Israel in this sphere; the women's lobby did the same; and, finally, Gal Gabai aired a bloodcurdling report on Channel Two's 'Ulpan Shishi,' in which traffickers were caught on hidden camera checking out candidates for purchase, as if the women were chattel at a slave market. Many Knesset members felt that something had to be done ...

Shortly after it got to work in July 2000, the commission received a further incentive for its activity, from Capitol Hill in Washington. Every year, the U.S. State Department presents a report to Congress that describes the efforts being made by different countries to combat the traffic in human beings, so this can be taken into account when foreign aid is being discussed. The 2001 Trafficking in Persons Report dealt Israel a big blow: The country plummeted to the lowest possible rating, Tier 3, a group described as 'not making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the standards of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.' Albania, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Pakistan were some of the countries with which Israel shared this dubious distinction ...

The police speak with frustration about the feeble efforts that are all they are capable of making against the crime lords. And when they do manage to haul them in, they end up watching the State Prosecutor's office strike plea bargains with them. For their part, representatives of the State Prosecutor's office claimed that the plea bargains were the maximum that could be achieved, given the severe backlog in the courts. A court system representative confirmed that the system is jammed and on the verge of collapse. The picture presented by the protocols is nothing short of appalling: Hundreds of women are smuggled into Israel each year and turned into human property; hundreds, if not thousands, of criminals of various ranks take part in this chain of trade, which begins in Eastern Europe and usually ends in a Tel Aviv brothel. On the other side are a handful of police officers, a few diligent state prosecutors and judges who are staggering under an impossible burden. What chance do they have of prevailing? ... At the same meeting, the police representatives brought up another painful matter: the fate of the women enlisted by the police to testify against the drug dealers and pimps. It turns out that these women are housed in a hostel where the conditions are barely satisfactory and no protection is provided."

Sex Trade Flourishing In Holy Land, CBS, February 24, 2003

"After a five-hour drive over the Egyptian desert, Inna crawled through a tunnel under a border fence, brushed sand off her pants and waited with seven other women to be taken to their new jobs. Running from poverty in her homeland of Moldova, Inna had come to the Holy Land to enter a profession as old as the Bible — prostitution. A $1 billion-a-year sex trade, reputedly one of the biggest of its kind in the world, has sprung up in Israel over the past decade. Every year, hundreds of women from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are smuggled into Israel. The trafficking is linked to the Russian mafia taking root in Israel as a byproduct of mass immigration from the former Soviet Union. Many of the women are spirited in across Israel's border with Egypt, which runs along 200 miles of desert that is difficult to guard against smuggling. The sex trade is so brisk that Israeli police set up a task force a year ago to deal with human trafficking. 'This is seriously like slavery,' said Chief Supt. Avi Davidovitch, head of the task force. Offenders get off too lightly, a parliamentary committee says. Courts routinely sentence pimps to community service or short prison terms, the panel said in a report late last year. It called for minimum jail terms of 16 years. Often, the women are mistreated, held as virtual prisoners and beaten by pimps, said Ephraim Ehrlich, an intelligence chief in the police Immigration Bureau. 'The people who work in this field have no conscience. All they care about is money,' Ehrlich said. 'These girls are really the victims'

During her six months in Israel, Inna said, she was able to send $3,500 to her mother and sister back in their Moldovan village. That's a small fortune in her poverty-stricken homeland, where she hopes to build a house and learn to be a hairdresser. 'After everything I saw here, I don't ever want to come back,' she said. Asked why she came, Inna said she was unemployed in Moldova and had come to Israel voluntarily after hearing of women making money as prostitutes. 'I wanted to do the same thing,' she said, hooking purple-clad, thin legs behind her chair. 'But it's too difficult to work with 10 to 15 men a day,' she added, averting her large brown eyes ... Inna said she did not know how much her pimp paid for her — although the price can range from $3,000 to $10,000. She said for the first month, she was paid only $4 per customer because she had to pay off her debt to the pimp. At a police station in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, two other Moldovan women talked tearfully with reporters about their lives as prostitutes. One, identified only as Marina, a slightly built 21-year-old, buried her face in her hands when she revealed that two days earlier she had learned she was pregnant."

United States Trafficking | Prostitution | Pornography Organized and Institutionalized Exploitation, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation

"25 distinct Russian organized crime groups are operating in the United States in the areas of prostitution, fraud, money laundering, murder, extortion and drug trafficking and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has approximately 250 pending investigations targeting Russian gangs in 27 states. (Barbara Starr, "Former Soviet Union a playground for organized crime: A gangster’s paradise," ABC News, 14 September 1998) ...

Marvin Hersh, a Florida Atlantic University professor, was charged with alien smuggling and passport fraud for going to Honduras and bringing a teen-age boy back to Boca Raton, Florida for sex. Affidavits described Hersh as a longtime pedophile who traveled to Central America and Asia to find victims. He passed the boy off as his son. Hersh’s friend, Nelson Jay Buler, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was charged with travelling for the purpose of illegal sexual contact with a minor, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Honduras. According to Title 18, Section 2423, a federal statute in the US, it is a crime for any American citizen to travel abroad with the intent to sexually abuse children. Sentences can be up to 10 years of imprisonment plus fines of US$ 250,000 ("Bond set for man accused of Honduras juvenile-sex trips," Associated Press) ...

Roman Israilov of Brooklyn, New York enslaved and raped a 20-year-old immigrant Russian woman and sexually abused her. He had intended later to sell her. Police who were notified by a neighbor arrested him. The police were having problems questioning the woman because she had just recently arrived and spoke very little English. (Frank Edozien and Larry Celona, "Man Kept Immigrant as His Sex Slave: Cops," New York Post, 15 September 1997)

Richard Blau, a Manhattan businessman, has been charged with abusing an immigrant Burmese woman whom he kept chained in his bedroom for nearly two weeks after offering her work as a cleaning woman. (UPI, 20 August 1997)

SEE ALSO: JEWISH INFLUENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE for related subjects, for example, sex therapist "Dr. Ruth," Wilhelm Reich, Larry Levenson's famous sex club "Plato's Retreat," etc. and Professor Peter Singer's homage to bestiality: Heavy Petting.