A letter to Angela Merkel

The honorable, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

I think it was the values of the holiness of human dignity, that permeated my mind as an Israeli Jewish girl and today a woman, living and raising children in Israel, that drew me towards being an activist in a non-government organization, fighting the legitimacy of buying human beings for sexual satisfaction.

Our experience as an N.G.O studying and combating prostitution, and among us many N.G.Os in Israel and all over the world, together with the research that has been done, shows us, that prostitution is an unfathomable and devastating existence off chronic violence, and a critical violation of human rights and human dignity. As a woman, as a human being, how can you tolerate this ongoing crime against women and men in your country?!

A common myth about prostitution is that people choose that kind of lifestyle, and that prostitution is a profession. When I lecture about the common myths that we have towards prostitution, I ask my listeners – what has to be your physical, mental, cognitive, financial situation, to let a strange man enter into a room with you, to lock the door, touch or grope your genitals with his hands or mouth, and then ravage you? The answers by those that can find the words are – when I reach the bottom, if I’m starving or if my life is in danger!

Legalized prostitution may look like a liberal approach of a free society, but the only ones that enjoy this liberation, are the clients. Women and men in prostitution are trapped in an exploiting and terrifying life. There is no freedom and liberation for them. Think of the physical and mental damage a human being experiences when ten or more strange men invade his/her body every day. Could you bare it?! Could you think of your loved ones in this kind of situation?!

Being in prostitution, in fancy “clean” and “protective” brothels, and having checkups for diseases (the clients don’t have to prove they are not carrying Sexually transmitted diseases, it’s the women who have to be healthy for the men to ravage them without worrying and without putting their wives at risk back at home, but the womens’ lives are insignificant…) legalized brothels do not protect the women from the harms of prostitution that they experience every minute of the day. No human being is able to bare the ongoing abuse and torture they are forced to endure day in and day out, before their bodies finally collapse.

As an Israeli activist who was brought up in a nation healing from the holocaust, I consider Germany as the leader, the pillar of strength and example of human rights, the gatekeeper of behaviors that jeopardize the dignity of others.

Chancellor Merkel, I admire your achievements, your personality and your skills, you are one of the most powerful people in the world, please rethink Germany’s legalized policy, which has such a huge effect on the whole world.

Idit Harel Shemesh, 

Machon Toda’a – Awareness Center

Combating prostitution and Sexual Exploitation

About the Author
B.A. Criminology, M.A. Democracy Studies. Manager of Todaa NGO (Awareness Center) which is a not for profit voluntary human rights organization, est. 2002, combating prostitution and sexual exploitation. our efforts are at changing awareness and attitudes of legislators, public officials, enforcement authorities, municipal and governmental social welfare agencies, towards prostitution, trafficking in human beings for sexual purposes, and sexual exploitation in Israel. Idit was awarded the 2010 "Israel Ministry of Justice decoration for activists battling trafficking" for playing a central part in the battle against trafficking for sexual purposes.