If some of the mannequins in Dizengoff Center seemed a little strange last week, it may be because they were not made out of plastic but out of real, live human bodies. In an effort to raise awareness about the trafficking of women in Israel, The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women has launched a campaign entitled, “How much do women cost?” in which women pose as mannequins in store fronts with price tags hanging on their bodies.
In one store front, under a sign that reads, “Women for sale according to personal tastes,” seven young women stand with ripped clothes and bruises, and tags that display their age, weight, measurements and country of origin. On the website of the popular clothing chain, Zap, a new category popped up called “Women To Go” that enabled visitors to “purchase” women in the same categories.
“The victims of sex trafficking do not get to rest all day long, and neither do we,” Uri Keidar, one of the founders of the coalition, told reporters. “The purpose of the campaign is to bring this issue to the public awareness and get people to develop strong feelings on the issue.”
The campaign aims to pressure the Minister of Justice to advance a prostitution bill submitted by MK Orit Zuaretz that would penalize the patrons of prostitutes rather than the women who have fallen victim to traffickers.
“The bill, based on the very successful Swedish model, would cause a reduction in prostitution as well as in sex trafficking,” Kedar said.
“Many people volunteered for this campaign,” according to Anna Magen, a spokeswoman for the Coalition. Volunteers included the Shalmor-Avnon-Amichai advertising firm, EXP Production company, Dizengoff Center, and Zap.” She added that the Zap campaign was intended to look, “like an integral part of the website”, and the women models in storefronts looked particularly realistic.
Ynet reported that some people responded with shock, anger and discomfort. “It was definitely a provocation”, Magen said. “But along with some people’s shock, we also received thousands of signatures on the petition, which we will be passing it along to the Minister of Justice.”