President, justice minister announce plan to clear names of convicted sex workers

President Reuven Rivlin and Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn announce a program to delete criminal records of convicted sex workers in order to “encourage people to leave prostitution.”

The president’s office says the scheme, which will be open to application for anyone convicted of crimes related to sex work who did not receive a custodial sentence,  aims “to relieve restrictions on leaving prostitution and allow [former sex workers] to join the workforce.

“Sex for pay is an exploitative relation and it has no place in our society, a society that values equality and respect for every man and woman, from every sector and every part of society,” the president says following a meeting with Nissenkorn.

Addressing sex workers, the president says, “I cannot really imagine what you have been through in your lives, but I know that life in prostitution means daily, unbearable exposure to violence, poverty, addiction and exploitation. This is life on the brink of death, on the edge of surrender. To break this cycle of pain, which sometimes seems never-ending, with no horizon, requires enormous mental strength. I know that for you, rehabilitation and re-entering the workforce may be a difficult task. You have to deal not only with the trauma, but also with the past and the stigmas that you carry like weights on your legs.”

“I am hopeful that you will find within yourselves the strength to trust and take the hand the country is extending,” Rivlin add.

Nissenkorn called the program “another important step in protecting, rehabilitating and helping people out of prostitution… Along with the law prohibiting use of sex services, which I recently signed into law, the new program emphasizes that the State of Israel acknowledges the harmful nature of prostitution and the serious damage it does. This statement of values is no less important.”