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A glance into the underworld

The best ammunication is criminalizing clients, not legalizing prostitution

Most of us like to view ourselves as normal people. We go through life in a normal world without recognizing that in every place, at every time, there is an alternative world that exists around us; a dark world, a world that functions according to very different rules.

In our world, individual freedoms are paramount. As long as the behavior of an individual does not harm others, he is allowed to act as he pleases. Conversely, the underworld thrives on slavery, the nullification of individual freedoms. The freewill of men in the underworld is enslaved through addictions to certain merchandise. As soon as a man is addicted, he loses the freedom of choice and, as a result, uncontrollably fills the deep pockets of those who market the merchandise. We are talking about a multi-billion dollar economy. It is ironic that the actual suppliers and service providers in the underworld, also frequently act against their will, such as the million women who are abducted each year to serve prostitution pimps, or minors suffering sexual abuse to satisfy the demand of child pornographers.

There are three basic products that serve as the economic base of the underworld: pornography, prostitution and illicit drugs. The distributors of these products constantly market them, directly and indirectly, to law abiding people. Most of us have fallen victims once or twice to the marketing schemes promoting one of these products. Maybe we tried it out of curiosity. Whether we enjoyed it or not, we viewed as a temporal experiment, and continued on with our lives. But some of those who experimented did not escape the trap of addiction. At some point they crossed the invisible line between freedom and slavery to the underworld.

The internet serves as a powerful marketing tool of the underworld, a tool which ensures that the average age of experimentation with these products becomes progressively younger. According to statistics, the average age of initial pornography addiction is 11 years old, while the average age of initial drug addiction is 13 years old. It is also interesting to note the correlation between those who begin as consumers of these products to those who become their providers. According to a poll taken in San Francisco, California, 90% of women working as prostitutes entered into the industry in their mid-teens after becoming addicted to hard drugs.

Western nations approach the problems created by underworld businesses in different ways. Many attempts have been made to restrict and regulate potentially addictive substances and behaviors through the law, in hope that regulations alone will mitigate the negative societal impact of underground businesses. On the other hand, there are nations, such as Germany and Holland, which have legalized and regulated the prostitution industry in an attempt to free it from underground control. Likewise, there are nations throughout the world that lack criminal prohibitions on the sale of narcotics and condone marketing pornography to adults.

All of the attempts to break the monopolistic hold of the underworld on these industries through legalization have failed. There are leaders in Holland today who are publicly confessing the failure of their regulatory approach, and are calling for the illegalization of prostitution. According to recent statistics, approximately 80 percent of the prostitutes in Holland are working against their will. Furthermore, the majority of these underworld businesses continue to function in the black market, thus thwarting the government’s expectations of increased tax revenues through legalization.

Most people, who are aware of the dimensions of underworld business, prefer to turn a blind eye to the phenomenon. Only when certain nefarious acts, influenced or instigated by underworld activity, cross the line and can’t be ignored, due to their intrusion into the lives of normal people, is a cry heard for the intervention of law enforcement agencies.

An incident like this occurred recently in a school on the outskirts of Jerusalem during the Purim holidays. A high school student filmed a video clip of his sexual organ and sent it to the girls in his class. Some of the girls complained to the school administration, which took the appropriate measures of expelling the boy from school and informing the Israeli police. I do not know this boy personally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he acquired his photographic expertise while surfing pornographic websites.

There is a clear public interest in constructing a strong and solid regulatory wall, to protect the normal world from the underworld. In its previous term, the Knesset made commendable progress in doing so, by approving a bill, which criminalizes prostitution clients. This bill was approved both in the Minister’s Legislative Committee and in its preliminary hearing in the General Assembly (unanimously). I would urge and encourage the current Members of Knesset to pick up where their predecessors left off, and finish this crucial job. It is about time to delegitimize the prostitution industry by law in Israel, thereby creating a negative stigma around those who purchase sex services, and by doing so, fund the sex slavery of many women.

By the way, I had the opportunity to speak a few days ago with an Arab Christian who lives in area “C” in the West Bank. This jurisdiction is nearly devoid of law and order. He told me that brothels are opening on every street corner in his neighborhood, and there is nobody to whom he can address a complaint. The Israeli police are not interested in endangering the lives of their policemen by sending them into West Bank Arab villages to enforce anti-human trafficking laws, which are criminal rather than security offenses. Even if the Palestinian Authority wanted to do something to address this problem, its policemen are not allowed to venture into area “C”.

This reality emphasizes the necessity of Israel officially annexing area “C”, giving citizenship to all of its residents, and taking complete responsibility for law and order therein. Currently, the West Bank is like the “Wild West”, a jurisdiction, which does not clearly fall under the policing responsibility of any government, thus becoming fertile soil for underworld businesses. These corrupt businessmen will continue to take over any geographic area, which is neglected by the normal world. They are driven by immense economic interests, and thus never neglect opportunities to expand their nefarious enterprises.

About the Author
Calev Michael Myers is the Deputy President of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ) and the President and Executive Chairman of ARISE - Alliance to Reinforce Israel's Security and Economy (ARISE). He is also a Senior Partner at Yehuda Raveh & Co. Law Offices (YR&Co.). The opinions expressed in Calev's blogs may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the IAJLJ, ARISE or YR&Co.