Rahel Gershuni examines the issue of trafficking in Israel. Beginning in the 1990s, young women from the former Soviet Union were trafficked to Israel for the purpose of prostitution. When trafficking began, government agencies did not identify it as a new phenomenon, but rather classified the victims in known categories—as illegal entrants or foreign prostitutes.
Karyn Gershon chronicles the life of a trafficked woman from the FSU. In her faded jeans, a black blazer, flats, and delicate earrings, Tanya looks more like the school teacher she was trained to be than a woman who lived through six years of hell as a trafficked woman in Spain. Until now, she has not shared her story publicly because the Russian press has insensitively portrayed the experiences of trafficked women in sexually charged ways and exposed their identities in the communities where they are being repatriated.
Wendy Chapkis writes about the intersection of trafficking and U.S. immigration policy. In 1999, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing welfare benefits and residency permits to a small class of abused and undocumented immigrants, including those engaged in prostitution.
What is the relationship between gender-based oppression and the trafficking of women? Why is trafficking a Jewish issue? How might Jewish communities draw on human rights and Jewish textual sources to address the issue?
Residents of a rent-stabilized apartment building in the Bronx were recently shocked to receive rent increases of up to 16 percent, far above the currently permitted increase of 4.5 percent. The landlord justified this increase by pointing to major work recently done on the building’s crumbling façade; according to NYC law, rent increases may be
“…A non-Jewish slave that is purchased from a non-Jew, we say to this slave, ‘is it your desire to become one of the slaves of Israel and to be kosher?’…If so, we inform this slave about Judaism’s essential beliefs and some of the mitzvot …” Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 267:3 Laws of Slaves Frederick Douglass’s