2005-03-07 15:34:00
Embassy Tel Aviv
Cable title:  


pdf how-to read a cable
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
(2 OF 3)


(SBU) This cable is the second part of a three-part message
responding to reftel. Embassy point of contact is Jenifer
Joyce, telephone number: 972-3-519-7437 and fax number:

Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers

A. Does the country have a law specifically prohibiting
trafficking in persons -- both trafficking for sexual
exploitation and trafficking for non-sexual purposes (e.g.,
forced labor)? If so, what is the law? Does the law(s)
cover both internal and external (transnational) forms of
trafficking? If not, under what other laws can traffickers
be prosecuted? For example, are there laws against slavery
or the exploitation of prostitution by means of coercion or
fraud? Are these other laws being used in trafficking cases?
Are these laws, taken together, adequate to cover the full
scope of trafficking in persons?

Section 203(a) of the penal law, enacted in July 2000,
prohibits trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual
exploitation. According to the GOI, an indictment based on
trafficking might also include charges such as rape, false
imprisonment, retaining a passport, forced labor,
exploitation of prostitution by means of coercion or fraud,
or kidnapping for the purposes of prostitution. Judgments
have typically reflected a narrow interpretation of the law,
but court cases rendered in the summer of 2003 clarified that
trafficking cases should not be narrowly construed.
Exploitation is prohibited under section 431 of the Penal Law
and is punishable by one year imprisonment. Withholding a
passport is punishable by section 376A of the Penal Law and
is punishable by one year imprisonment. Section 376 of the
Penal Law prohibits forced labor and is punishable by one
year imprisonment, but an amendment to this law to include
trafficking in persons for labor, which would be punishable
by up to ten years imprisonment, is currently being drafted.

Fraud is prohibited by Sections 415 and 440 of the Penal Law
and is punishable by up to five years imprisonment. The law
for the prevention of infiltration (1954) prohibits the
smuggling of persons across Israeli borders and carries a
punishment of up to five years imprisonment. The GOI enacted
no new legislation in 2004 regarding trafficking for sexual

-- Labor trafficking: A government bill that would
specifically prohibit trafficking for the purpose of
enslavement and forced labor is expected to be submitted to
the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in April 2005. The
GOI enacted no new legislation in 2004 regarding labor

B. What are the penalties for traffickers of people for
sexual exploitation?

Under section 203(a) of the penal code, a person selling or
buying a person to deal in prostitution, or engaging in such
selling or buying, can be imprisoned for up to 16 years.
Anyone causing a person to leave his or her country of
residence to engage in prostitution is subject to up to 10
years imprisonment. If the victim is a minor, the penalties
are 20 years and 15 years respectively. The average
sentences courts impose have increased in 2004 to eight to
ten years, from an average in 2002 of one to three years.

-- For traffickers of people for labor exploitation?

According to District Attorney contacts, such traffickers are
not specifically prosecuted for trafficking of labor because
there is no specific law which addresses such trafficking,
but a law specifically prohibiting trafficking for labor is
being drafted.

C. What are the penalties for rape or forcible sexual
assault? How do they compare to the penalty for sex

The penalties for trafficking are commensurate with those for
rape and sexual assault. The penalty for rape is a maximum
of 16 years in jail. If under aggravated circumstances, the
maximum penalty is 20 years.

D. Has the Government prosecuted any cases against
traffickers? If so, provide numbers of investigations,
prosecutions, convictions and sentences, including details on
plea bargains and fines, if relevant and available.

According to the GOI, courts convicted 25 defendants in 28
TIP-related cases between March 2004 and February 2005. The
sentences ranged from six months to 12 years imprisonment.
The Israeli Police conducted 50 investigations of TIP cases
during 2004, resulting in 103 arrests of suspects.
Prosecutors filed 89 indictments for trafficking in persons
for prostitution and related offenses, including 39
indictments for fraud, six indictments for forgery, eight
indictments for aiding and abetting infiltration, and three
indictments for withholding passports. In 15 of these
indictments the accused were detained until the conclusion of
their trials. In addition, 69 accused were detained during
their trials, and 108 witnesses were housed in police-funded

During 2004, the Crime Unit in the Immigration Administration
recommended filing indictments against employers of foreign
workers in connection with 84 of its investigations.
Prosecutors are still reviewing the evidence to determine
whether to issue indictments.

The GOI reported that 13 TIP-related convictions resulted in
plea bargains in 2004. Defendants in these cases received
prison sentences ranging from six to 82 months. Many also
were fined, with amounts ranging from NIS 2,000 to 25,000
(about USD 450 to 5,500). Each defendant in these 13 cases
also received, in addition to the prison sentence, a
suspended sentence that the defendant would have to serve on
top of any sentence incurred for the same offense in the
future. In Israel, the State Prosecutor may appeal a plea
bargain, requesting a longer sentence, and the higher courts
have increased sentences for several cases of trafficking
over the past year, according to both GOI and NGO sources.

Specific cases against accused labor traffickers include The
State of Israel vs. Or Le'david Ltd. et. al., in which an
employer was indicted on five charges involving fraud,
illegal employment, withholding passports and forgery. In
another case, The State of Israel vs. Um Brothers Ltd. et.
al., 16 charges of withholding passports were filed against
the defendant-employer. The charges were filed as labor
trafficking cases, but the defendants were prosecuted for
"withholding passports," due to the absence of a specific law
prohibiting trafficking of persons for labor.

No requirement exists in Israel for a speedy trial, nor are
there jury trials. A case is usually heard by a judge in a
series of hearings that can have intervals lasting several

E. Is there any information or reports of who is behind the
trafficking? For example, are the traffickers freelance
operators, small crime groups, and/or large international
organized crime syndicates? Are employment, travel and
tourism agencies or marriage brokers fronting for traffickers
or crime groups to trafficked individuals?

According to the GOI, small-scale international crime groups
conduct most if not all of the trafficking in persons in
Israel, and most criminals involved in trafficking are
immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Some NGOs believe,
however, that most of the traffickers are individual
freelancers and small groups that work in cooperation with
freelance agents and groups in Eastern Europe and the FSU.
According to NGOs, some of these groups may work with
manpower/employment agencies in source countries. Evidence
shows that Israeli Bedouins are involved in smuggling women
across the border from Egypt. NGOs charge that some
employment/manpower agencies engage in activities that meet
the definition of labor trafficking. No evidence exists that
Israeli employment, travel and tourism agencies or marriage
brokers are involved as fronts for traffickers or trafficked
individuals, according to the government. NGO
representatives concur that no evidence exists that Israeli
employment, travel and tourism agencies are involved in sex
trafficking, but note reports that Israeli employment
agencies facilitate labor trafficking.

-- Are government officials involved?
No evidence exists that government officials are involved in

F. Does the government actively investigate cases of

Yes. Police guidelines clearly encourage the police to make
arrests and investigate fully any evidence of trafficking.
The government investigated 460 cases involving trafficking
in 2003, 602 cases in 2004 and 19 in January 2005, according
to statistics provided by GOI officials. Of the 602 cases in
2004, only 50 were for trafficking persons for prostitution.
The remaining 552 investigations involved related offenses,
such as pandering, causing a person to engage in
prostitution, soliciting prostitution and kidnapping.

-- Does the government use active investigative techniques in
trafficking in persons investigations? To the extent
possible under domestic law, are techniques such as
electronic surveillance, undercover operations and mitigated
punishment or immunity for operating suspects used by the

Yes. The police do use special investigative techniques,
including the use of undercover agents, tracking devices and
electronic surveillance, to the extent permitted by law. The
prosecution can request mitigation of punishment for
cooperating suspects. Plea bargains can be and sometimes are
reached, although the court is free to reject them. In
addition, the district attorney may grant cooperating
suspects "state witness" status, which may include immunity
from prosecution, as a means to secure evidence against other

-- Does the criminal procedure code or other laws prohibit
the police from engaging in covert operations?

No. Police ordinance 5731-1971 authorizes the police to
engage in covert operations for the purposes of discovering
crime, preventing criminal offenses and apprehending

G. Does the government provide any specialized training for
government officials in how to recognize, investigate and
prosecute instances of trafficking?

Yes. In 2004, the government provided three training
sessions, lasting five days each for 30 police officers each
(a total of 90 officers),on how to recognize, investigate
and prosecute TIP, investigate the source of the crime, and
on how to counter money-laundering operations both in Israel
and abroad.

H. Does the government cooperate with other governments in
the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases?

In January 2004, the Israel Police conducted in Belarus the
first-ever joint investigation with a foreign police force on
trafficking of women. The operation is still ongoing and the
police could not divulge details, but promised an update in
March. They are hopeful this will open the door to other
joint operations with Russia and Ukraine. In addition,
cooperation between the Israeli and Russian police (the Unit
Combating Organized Crime and the Russian State Attorney)
expanded during 2004. This cooperation resulted in the
arrest and indictment of a trafficking ring leader and
several other individuals in the former Soviet Union. The
government has also been pursuing a joint operation with
Ukraine against an international network of traffickers that
uses the falsified identity cards of Jewish Ukrainians to
smuggle other individuals into Israel.

I. Does the government extradite persons who are charged
with trafficking in other countries? If so, please provide
the number. Does the government extradite its own nationals
charged with such offenses? If not, is the government
prohibited by law from extraditing its own nationals? If so,
what is the government doing to modify its laws to permit the
extradition of its own nationals?

The government may extradite Israeli nationals under the
provisions of the Extradition Law 5714-1954, as amended in
2001, which specifically allows it to extradite any person
charged with a penalty of more than one year to a country
with which it has an extradition treaty. The GOI may also
extradite an individual to any country that, along with
Israel, is a party to a multilateral international convention
that contains extradition provisions.

Israel also submits extradition requests to other countries
in connection with trafficking cases in Israel.

The State of Israel in August 2004 requested from Bulgaria
the extradition of an Israeli national, Shlomo Kozev, on
trafficking in persons and related charges. As of the end of
the reporting period, Kozev was on trial in the Tel Aviv
District Court.

In response to an Israeli extradition request, Russian
authorities arrested in September 2004 Israeli national Shota
Shamelashvili on trafficking and related charges. As of the
end of the reporting period, Shamelashvili's appeal of the
extradition request was still pending in the Russian Supreme

In November 2004, the U.S. extradited Israeli national Yigal
Mizrahi to Israel to face charges of pandering for the
purpose of prostitution and related charges. The crimes
Mizarahi was charged with were committed prior to Israel's
legal prohibition in 2001 of trafficking in persons.

In another case, Israel requested the extradition of two
unnamed individuals from Ukraine for TIP-related offenses.
Extradition proceedings were underway in Ukraine at the close
of the reporting period, although the individuals had not yet
been arrested.

J. Is there evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional level?

No evidence exists of government involvement in trafficking
on a local or an institutional level.

K. If government officials are involved in trafficking, what
steps has the government taken to end such participation?
Have any government officials been prosecuted for involvement
in trafficking or trafficking-related corruption? Have any
been convicted?

Individual cases, noted above, exist in which police officers
have received bribes or shielded brothels, but none have
involved government officials.

L. If the country has an identified child sex tourism
problem, how many foreign pedophiles has the government
prosecuted or deported/extradited to their country of origin?

No evidence exists of child sex tourism in Israel.

-- Does the country's child sexual abuse laws have
extraterritorial coverage (like the US PROTECT Act)?

Yes, section 15 of the Penal Law provides that when an
Israeli citizen or resident violates abroad Israeli laws
concerning child sexual abuse, he or she may still be charged
in Israel with that crime, e.g., receiving sexual services of
a child, child prostitution, child pornography, and
trafficking in children.

M. Has the government signed, ratified and/or taken steps to
implement the following international instruments?

-- ILO Convention 182 Concerning the Prohibition and
Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of
Child Labor. The government ratified ILO Convention 182 on
December 16, 2004.

-- ILO Convention 29 and 105 on Forced or Compulsory Labor.
The government ratified these conventions on July 7, 1955,
and April 10, 1958, respectively.

-- The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of
the Child (CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution
and Child Pornography. The government signed this protocol
on November 14, 2001. Israel is currently in the process of
initiating necessary amendments to its national legislation
with a view to ratifying these conventions.

-- The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the
UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The
government has not ratified this instrument, but signed it on
November 14, 2001.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************