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Combating Human Trafficking: As a Zionist there is a lot about Israel of which I am proud. However, partly because of its geographic location, Human Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a particularly acute problem in Israel.

Atzum was founded in 2002 by Levi Lauer ‘to remedy injustices in Israeli Society and encourage individuals to become social activists and agents of change.’

It has a number of ongoing projects but the one that is especially important to me is the ‘Task Force on Human Trafficking.’ The project aims to build social and political efforts in Israel to end modern day slavery and to help the women and children affected, as well as prosecuting the traffickers. It works to help the women and children who have been the victims of trafficking and also builds the necessary political will to make changes at the national (and international) level.

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Human Trafficking is a major international problem. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that up to 2.5 million people are currently being exploited. Of this number, 95% will have experienced some form of violence. The figures suggest that 78% of those trafficked have been subjected to forced sexual exploitation, and that 20% of those that are trafficked are children.

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Israel’s Moral Imperative

In 2012 I listened to Levi Lauer talk about Human Trafficking at Limmud.

I believe this issue is one of vital importance for Israel’s moral well being. In Isaiah, Israel’s moral mission is presented: ‘I will also make you a light to the nations that My Salvation may reach to the ends of the Earth.’ (Isaiah 49:6). The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel echoes this ideal; Israel ‘will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.’

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Why Atzum

Israel can help lead the world in helping to end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children.

Atzum has an extensive network of volunteers. Importantly, this empowers the volunteers, which includes people who would otherwise be marginalised. It also means that more of their income goes towards the grassroots aspects of their projects.

Atzum, and in particular their Task Force on Human Trafficking, is a charity and a project that I passionately believe in. They are doing great work and have already achieved a lot. But there still remains much to be done.

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About the Author

Adam Frankenberg is a fourth year rabbinical student at Leo Baeck College. As part of his studies he spent the year 2010-11 in Israel at Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem which was a life changing experience.  Before embarking on rabbinic training Adam took an MA in Jewish Studies at The University of Manchester.  In the dim and distant past he studied Biochemistry and Chemistry at Keele. 

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