Sex With Minors Goes Unpunished In Israel
Last August, police arrested Vadim Bartel, 41, on suspicion of engaging a 15-year old girl as a prostitute. The police caught him red-handed, as he sent the girl to a client's home. The client had requested "fresh meat." Bartel was accused of pimping. The client, like others who employed the 14-year-old's services, suffered no legal consequences. This, despite the fact that Clause 203 of the Penal Law stipulates that those who pay for the sexual services of a minor must serve three years in prison.
Enacted in 2000, Clause 203 - the only clause which permits the trial of clients of prostitutes - was added to protect minors from exploitation. But since becoming law, the clause has been applied only once, apparently in the context of a plea bargain. Police maintain that the law has not been implemented because prostitution among minors is rare. But the Elem non-profit organization, which assists youth at risk, maintains there are more than a thousand minors engaged in prostitution in Israel.[/q]