In a bid to draw attention to female trafficking in Tel Aviv, Israel, around fifteen women were put up for sale in a shopping mall of the country.
The display, which had been sponsored by the Israeli Task Force Against Human Trafficking, saw real women being put on exhibition with price tags ranging from 5,500 dollars to 11,000 dollars, though the sale was not real.
AdvertisementMaya Speer, attorney and human rights activist, pretended to be "Sophia", and wore makeup that made her look like she had a black eye to highlight the cruelty that trafficking also generates towards women.
"It's the least I can do. These women are the weakest in Israel society. They are slaves, and no one should be slaves," Fox News quoted Speer as saying.
Speer also added that she felt anger and sadness while standing in the display window as shoppers looked at her.
Those who happened to see the store display were asked to sign a petition calling on the Israeli justice minister to accept a bill that would prosecute people who pay money for sex.
Prostitution in Israel is currently illegal but there is no law that goes after clients or the owners of brothels. The hope is that this new law might reduce the number of trafficked women coming into Israel.
As part of the bill, organizers say clients who pay for sex would receive a six-month jail sentence. The point is to target those who solicit the services of prostitutes and not punish the prostitutes themselves.
According to the Israeli Task Force Against Human Trafficking, Israel is considered a popular country for trafficking for women from the former Soviet Union. Many of them come through the country's border with Egypt.
Sometimes Bedouin smugglers transport the women across the Sinai desert into Israel.
By some estimates as many as 3,000 women live in Israel and work as prostitutes, but because of the secretive nature of human trafficking exact figures are hard to get.
Once they arrive in Israel they are sold and resold to brothel owners, who demand they work 14-18 hours a day, and they are also forced to service between 10-15 clients a day usually for no money at all.