The Law for Prohibition of the Consumption of Prostitution Services came into effect in July, authorizing the police to fine anybody who consumes prostitution services. The law makes it clear that the prohibition against the consumption of prostitution is an inseparable part of the “combined effort” that was supposed to include education and information for the public, and expansion of the methods of treatment and rehabilitation for populations working in prostitution. The law determined a flexible basket of services for those in rehabilitation from prostitution work, that is to be given through the bureaus for social services.
On 4.11.2020, we appealed to the Ministry of Welfare and argued that the assistance funds are not being given to the beneficiaries due to bureaucratic obstacles and lack of clarity about the way by which they are to be given. In the appeal, Attorney Reut Shaer, Unit Director of the Public Hotline at ACRI, mentioned that beneficiaries are waiting months for decisions to be made on their applications, and even after their approval, the funds are not sent. In addition, we mentioned that providing the assistance through the bureaus of social services alone, and not through specialized assistance organizations, creates an impassable obstacle for many populations that do not wish or are unable to enroll in the municipal welfare departments.
In response to our appeal, the Ministry of Welfare claims that out of 90 applications requesting assistance that were submitted since the law went into effect, about 50 are already in the process of assessment and assistance fulfillment. This answer, however, does not contradict the information we possess, which is that no person in rehabilitation has received assistance in actuality. Their response also claims that four standards for handling requests were set forth for the Administration of Assistance and Correction to the Courts, one for each district in the country, and that the Ministry is attempting to establish an additional financial assistance system through the organization “Lo Omdot”, in order to provide an alternative to the welfare bureaus.