Israel Police today issued closure orders against all of the strip clubs in Tel Aviv. The Go Go Girls, Shendu, and Baby Dolls clubs were closed. Following these closures and two others last month, and the closure of the Pussycat club in July 2019, there are now no strip clubs in Tel Aviv.
The campaign to close strip clubs in Israel began with a petition by the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution in 2016 for the closure of the Pussycat club. Under the influence of this public campaign, the state authorities' attitude towards strip clubs in Israel changed. In April 2019, when the campaign reached a peak, the State Attorney's Office's instruction on enforcement policy for prostitution-related offenses changed. Conditions were specified under which lap dancing would be considered prostitution. Following yesterday's police action, Israel has only one strip club - in the north.
"After years during which we demanded that houses of prostitution masquerading as strip clubs not be allowed to operate, a historic step was taken today, in which the police put an end to severe exploitation by closing the last clubs that operated in Tel Aviv," said Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution associate director Adv. Nitzan Kahana. "This is a necessary measure, after years in which brave women spoke out about the enormous damage inflicted on them by abuse in the strip clubs. We are looking forward to continued and persistent handling by the authorities, so that more such clubs are not opened in Israel, and the club owners are tried for whore-mongering and maintaining a place of prostitution."
Will other strip clubs be able to easily replace those closed? The Go Go Girls and Baby Dolls clubs had business licenses, with the latter having been issued its license only six months ago under very stringent terms, after having been previously deprived of a license. The clubs have now been closed, but the Tel Aviv municipality has no clear policy on the matter, and it cannot be ruled out that similar clubs will appear in the near future. The municipality has begun an initial hearing, led by Deputy Mayor Zipi Brand-Frank, but there has been no clear progress to date on the matter.
Municipality sources said that if a request for a business license from a strip club is received now, it will be examined in light of the law, and can therefore be approved. At the same time, Brand-Frank says, "Women were abused in the clubs that existed in the city, and this can no longer occur in Tel Aviv in 2020. We are in the process of formulating policy and examining the character of businesses of this type. Meanwhile, we are not approving such requests; they are being delayed. Personally, I think that there is no place for this. We will also act to help rehabilitate the women who worked in these places and were abused. Any woman who was injured by this exploitative industry is invited to contact me or the municipality, and we will do everything in our power to help, so that they can escape this cycle."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 11, 2020
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