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Reform Jewish Movement Applauds Crackdown on Trafficking In Women Called for By Israeli Attorney General

Saperstein: "We commend the recent statement by Israeli Attorney -General Rubinstein on the Israeli government's commitment to crack down on the trafficking in women and to make inroads in addressing this very serious issue. "

Contact: Alexis Rice (202) 387-2800

Washington, DC, August 7, 2001 – Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, commended Israeli Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein's recent statement proclaiming the Israeli government's commitment to prevent the trafficking in women.

"At the onset of the 21st century, the degrading institution of slavery persists throughout the world. The largest manifestation of modern day slavery is in the form of trafficking in persons for sexual purposes, primarily women and children. According to the Protection Project, at least 700,000 persons annually are trafficked within or across international borders. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States alone each year."

"We are deeply alarmed that, according to the July 2001 State Department report, Israel is a major receiver of trafficked women and is now classified internationally as a 'Tier 3' country." (the poorest ranking). In fact, the Israel Women's Network estimates that over 2,500 women, particularly from Eastern Europe, are trafficked in Israel on an annual basis.

"While these reports are appalling, we commend the recent statement by Israeli Attorney-General Rubinstein on the Israeli government's commitment to crack down on the trafficking in women and to make inroads in addressing this very serious issue. We urge the Israeli government to implement effective steps to fulfill this commitment as soon as possible and work to end these ongoing injustices," said Rabbi Saperstein.

The Religious Action Center played a major role in shaping and advocating for passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. This crucial legislation gives priority to the prosecution of trafficking offenses, prescribes appropriate punishment, protects rather than punishes the victims of such offenses, and requires the State Department to issue an annual report on the extent of this problem in countries around the world.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaismis the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.



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