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Exporting Israeli Prostitutes

The state’s first convicted female pimp calls herself a pioneer as the Knesset considers outlawing prostitution

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A prostitute in Tel Aviv. (Yogev Amrany)

Angelique Sabag Gautiller calls herself a pioneer and, indeed, the smiling, blonde-haired, blue-eyed 40-year-old is, in fact, something of a trailblazer in Israel. Convicted in July 2011 of “conspiring to cause a person to leave the country in order to work in prostitution,” for helping nine Israeli women work as prostitutes in Ireland, Gautiller was sentenced to 30 months in prison in the Neve Tirza women’s prison—making her, in short, the Jewish state’s first female pimp.

When I met Gautiller in December 2009, she was under house arrest and had to wear an electronic bracelet on her leg. “Come in quick or I’ll start beeping,” she told me as she opened the door to her Herzliya apartment. Our last meeting was in July 2011, several days before she began serving her prison sentence. She was in a good mood and seemed relieved that her trial, which lasted nearly two years, was finally over. Still, she couldn’t come to terms with being called a pimp.

Over the past few years, international reports released by the U.S. Department of State and other organizations that monitor human trafficking listed Israel, for the first time, as an exporter of prostitution. It’s estimated that a few hundred sex workers from Israel are sent abroad each year. The trend makes sense, given a new law brought before the Knesset this year. Titled “Prohibiting the Consumption of Prostitution,” the legislation seeks to make paying for sex a criminal offense punishable by six months in prison. The bill, which is expected to pass, seems to have spurred sex workers to look abroad for new revenue streams.

Gautiller is one of the burgeoning industry’s captains. She made aliyah from France when she was 17, volunteering at Kibbutz Hatzerim before moving to Eilat and getting a job as a waitress. She later headed to the United States, briefly settling in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and then New York, where she sold Israeli music at a store in Manhattan called Hava Nagilah.

In 2002, Gautiller moved back to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv, but her prospects were bleak. In debt and unable to find steady work, she eventually got evicted from her apartment and moved to a cheap Tel Aviv motel where she paid 50 NIS (around $13) a night for a room. “One day I came back from work and my room was burglarized. Everything I had was stolen,” Gautiller told me. “I was devastated. I literally had nothing left.” Finding herself at rock bottom, she turned to an unexpected source: a prostitute living at the motel. “I asked her to help me find a job,” she explained. “I knew her salary wasn’t as awful as other women’s, so I thought it was the best solution I could find. That’s how it started.” She said she found a newspaper ad placed by Kevin Byrne, an Irish pimp, looking for women to work in Ireland. She visited his website and reached out to him via email, and he asked her to come work for him in Dublin. She agreed, traveling to Dublin and settling in as one of Byrne’s call girls.

Gautiller and Byrne grew close, and in 2006, Byrne promoted Gautiller to an assistant position. Her task was to find Israeli women to work in Ireland, a country with one of the biggest prostitution industries in Europe. According to Gautiller, she placed advertisements in Israeli newspapers, promising work paying up to $1,000 a day—an astronomical sum for the Israeli workforce—and nine women took her bait. Gautiller then arranged an introductory interview in Tel Aviv with each respondent, and, after they agreed to make the trip with her, bought each woman a plane ticket to Ireland. Gautiller’s “business trips” with the women would last several weeks at a time. Exactly what she told the women during those initial meetings, however, would later be debated in court.

Her scheme went undetected by authorities for over a year. In 2007, an Israeli human rights organization, Hotline for Migrant Workers, noticed one of Gautiller’s ads and sent a female employee to apply for the job. In a grassroots sting operation, the employee recorded her conversation with Gautiller and then contacted police. The investigation lasted several months, as police investigated Gautiller and the women who worked for her. Four months later, when Gautiller landed at Ben Gurion airport, she was promptly arrested.

“All I did was place ads,” Gautiller told me during our first interview, repeating the defense her lawyer argued throughout her lengthy trial. “The women who saw these ads would meet me, and they would ask about how much money they could make and what the clients were into,” she explained. “I would buy them a ticket, accompany one or two or three of them, and then they’d stay behind and work on their own.”

“It’s not like I contacted poor girls and forced them to come and work with me,” Gautiller insisted. “These are girls who are in this business anyway, and I gave them the opportunity to work with people who are much nicer than the Israelis. I also gave them an experience abroad, earning much more money in less time.” Instead of making 100 NIS in Israel per half-hour, she said, they could make 160 euros—nearly nine times as much. “For them, it was a win-win situation.”

The court thought differently, finding Gautiller guilty of soliciting women to work as prostitutes. According to the indictment, Gautiller would confiscate each woman’s passport when she arrived in Dublin, force her to have sex with clients, and prohibit her from leaving a rental apartment Byrne was paying for. During the trial, testimony from a woman named Ela, who worked for Gautiller, asserted this version of events. “I told her I have a massage certificate. I wanted to work only as a masseuse,” Ela explained. “Angelique looked at me and told me, ‘You’re cute. I want you to work for me. You will earn 160 euros for a massage and we’ll split half and half profits.’ ”

“When we got to Ireland she photographed me and asked me to meet clients,” Ela said. “Only when the clients came, she told me I must have sex with them. When I refused, Angelique told me I had no choice, and that I had to return the cost of the plane ticket. After she told me that, I agreed to have sex with a client for 160 euros.”

“During the period when I was in Ireland I had sex with four men,” Ela told the court. “All the money I earned was given to Angelique.”

One of the women testified that after an argument with Gautiller in which she had asked to return to Israel, Gautiller threatened to pay men to beat her to death and told her she wouldn’t leave Ireland alive. Convinced, the court convicted Gautiller, sentencing her to 30 months in prison. Gautiller’s actual prison term will last only 20 months—good behavior was cited—and she’s expected to be released next month.

But Gautiller’s incarceration hasn’t deterred some of her former workers (while being a pimp is illegal in Israel, being a prostitute is not), or prevented them from seeking new employment opportunities abroad. Marina, an attractive young woman from Tel Aviv who worked with Gautiller in Ireland, testified at the trial that Gautiller gave her the chance to earn unimaginable sums of money. After graduating high school with honors and serving in the Israel Defense Forces, she began studying economics in university and was looking for a way to make money. “When I started working in Israel I was looking for a sponsor,” Marina told me, a wealthy man “who is willing to spend 15 or 20 thousand shekels each month for the pleasure.”

Marina told me she went from earning 700 NIS a month from the army to 2,000 or 3,000 NIS for a few hours’ work. A year and a half later, she met Gautiller. “She asked if I knew the work, and offered to sponsor my flight. I agreed to go,” she explained. “Suddenly I had the chance to make 15,000 euros in two weeks. Also, and I know this may sound weird, but I really liked traveling, as well as working with my clients.” No longer working for Gautiller, Marina has added new countries to her travel route.

“Until I came along, there were hardly any Israeli girls who traveled abroad to work as prostitutes,” Gautiller told me just before her prison sentence began. “After my story became famous, more and more women suddenly realized that if they had to work at this shitty profession, they should at least earn good money.” She speculated that the business plan she capitalized on would only grow in popularity once the new anti-prostitution legislation passed. “I promise you that in the coming years you’ll hear that prostitution in Israel is in decline, but the prostitutes will not disappear or become rehabilitated,” she said. “They’ll just move to places where they are properly rewarded, like Ireland or England, Croatia or Japan or the United States, countries where it is much more lucrative to be a prostitute than it is in Israel.”

By World War I, prostitution was an active industry in cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Ramla, with brothels owned by both Arabs and Jews. British soldiers joined a growing client base during the 1930s and 1940s, and Tel Aviv was considered the industry’s capital in the Middle East. After the establishment of the State of Israel, prostitution was not forbidden by law, but anyone caught working as a pimp was subject to prosecution. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the industry grew, with the influx of immigrants creating an increase in demand.

Starting in 2000, increased awareness of human trafficking led to the introduction of legislative measures to combat prostitution in Israel. But today, the numbers remain high: Police estimate that there are nearly 10,000 sex workers in Israel. Organizations designed to help those working in this industry put the number closer to 20,000—equal to the population of an Israeli city like Zikron Yaakov. According to those same sources, brothels receive 3 million visits each week.

Israeli police report an increase in instances of Israeli women arrested abroad in the last two years, though police officials won’t give exact numbers. However, once the Prohibiting the Consumption of Prostitution Act passed the first of three necessary rounds of Knesset approval earlier this year, police amplified their attention to the issue. The proposed legislation also received attention from Israeli media outlets as the discussion shifted to focus on customers worried about getting caught paying for sex.

The law is expected to pass after the January election. One of the bill’s sponsors, Member of Knesset Orit Zuaretz, who heads the parliament committee to fight human trafficking, and who will also likely continue her role in the next Knesset, says she has no doubt the law will pass.

Yet even legislators who support the bill admit that its passage will likely result in more sex workers following Gautiller’s lead and leaving Israel to find work. Zuaretz told me she was surprised by the bill’s vehement opposition, particularly from sex workers. “I received multiple threats from women who said that I was taking away their livelihood,” Zuaretz explained. “Some threatened to burn down my house if this bill passed.” But she maintained that the strong reaction was a result of confusion surrounding the nature of the bill: “They didn’t quite understand the bill’s purpose, which wasn’t to deprive prostitutes of income but to provide them with an alternative, to help them find other occupations and apartments and help them break the vicious cycle in which they’re trapped,” she said. “My role as a lawmaker is to refuse to let them come to terms with this reality, to show them that other realities are possible.”

Zuaretz estimated that prostitution has become a billion-dollar-a-year industry in Israel. “We’re not just talking about the money the client pays the prostitute, but the apartment rentals, the cabs, and the hotel rooms,” she explained. “It’s all part of a larger industry that thrives on prostitution and lives off the back of these miserable women. It’s a dangerous situation.”

According to Zuaretz, the bill sparked a notable increase in the number of women calling the various help centers sponsored by the state. Several government ministries have since started providing mental and financial assistance to sex workers, helping them find homes and new jobs. But there are many more women, like Marina, who want to be left alone by the government, arguing that the money is worth it.

Prominent Israeli civil-rights activist Shabi Korzan explained that it’s rare to encounter a sex worker who is not, in some way, used or abused. “It sounds very nice and liberal-minded to paint this as a story of an economic opportunity,” she said, “but it is our obligation as a society to give these women a choice and not to justify the act as the outcome of free will.” She is wary of Marina’s tales of endless financial opportunity. “The problem is that if we believe that all prostitutes are like Marina, we lose our capacity to be outraged by the more common stories of prostitution, and we should absolutely be outraged.”

Surprisingly, Gautiller echoed that very same sentiment when we last spoke. “When I was in Ireland, I felt the most horrible loneliness imaginable,” she told me. “Today I regret getting into this world, because even if everything is good economically, emotionally it’s all screwed up. I shouldn’t have given other women the opportunity to get into it, because you become addicted to it, to all this easy money, and you find some justification,” she admitted. “But it’s an addiction. No girl ever dreams of being a prostitute.”


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The math is fuzzy: If 20,000 Israeli hookers are servicing 3,000,000 johns each week, we’re looking at average production of 150 tricks per week–a remarkable 30 per day (c’mon, a five-day work week). Certainly a feather in the yarmulke for some eye opening over-achieving fortitude.

disqus_qZ6DCvpsy9 says:

I’ve long said that the triumph of the Zionist idea of “Jewish normalcy” and of modern Hebrew is that cops arrest hookers, pimps and johns in Hebrew…judges sentence them in Hebrew…the convicts serve their terms under Hebrew-speaking screws. Hallelujah!

This exposé just underscores how the high-minded war on “human trafficking” has turned into a low-minded war on consensual sex. Exactly like what happened with “child pornography”, which was used as a way to harass and imprison whoever was the object of lurid fantasies (Freeman). Welcome to the slippery slope of morality legislation.

    Plumbline says:

    Leviticus 19:29……..
    ‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness……….

    ………Revelation 21:8………..
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

      You forgot these:

      If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her … and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel’s father shall say … these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. … But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die. Deuteronomy 22:13-21

      If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

Billiamo says:

Forgive my naivety, but what makes her a pimp and not a madam?

    The word “pimp” is customarily used to refer to a vicious criminal who controls prostitutes who work in the streets. He finds her a territory to patrol, protects her from other pimps and prostitutes, and he “encourages” her by beating her up. The word is more loosely used to refer to prostitutes’ boyfriends. Prostitutes who are dominant in the brothel, manipulating customers and pushing other prostitutes around, very often choose vicious boyfriends who beat the women up and take their money, even though these men are utterly gratuitous and perform no economic function, in contrast to true pimps. Both kinds of pimps can be Lesbian.

    A “Madame” is the manager or owner of a brothel. None of her flock works in the street.

    Permit me to refer you to my book, Games Prostitutes Play, which has two chapters about the niceties of brothel management. I researched this book by managing and living in a Dutch brothel on and off for several years.

    By the way, the picture above shows a prostitute smoking – tobacco is iconic to the prostitute’s image.

The fact that the country of ‘export’ was Ireland is not without its own consequences since the Irish Republican Army, or those who purport to be the ‘real’ IRA, use prostitution, drugs, weapons and commodities smuggling as part of their fund raising. The fact that Ms. Gautiller would threaten a reluctant woman with death by beating should be reason enough to sentence her for the crimes she has committed. The seizure of travel documents; confinement to restrictive housing; demands for repayment of airfare; and a withholding of relevant details of employment are all classic methodologies used by human traffickers. Whatever her remorse (at getting caught) it is far outweighed by the suffering she has inflicted on her victims while they were abroad.

    YO MARC,

    The Irish Republic has a fine, upstanding Jew as their Minister of Justice & he is in control of this situation. There is no comparison between Israel & Ireland, regarding prostitution, so you can relax. Jews are No 1 pimps in the world, as Bertha Pappenheim proved in the 19th century. Google her name & learn the sordid facts.

    Marc, you are a bit naive like the girls you call “victims” . Do you really think women who fall for the tale of going to work abroad as masseusses or waitresses or the alike, don’t really know what they will be used for?

    Marc, you are a bit naive like the girls you call “victims” . Do you really think women who fall for the tale of going to work abroad as masseusses or waitresses or the alike, don’t really know what they will be used for?

    SelenaBlair says:

    Young Brazilian model Yasmin Assis drops her Panties.

    Ross6622 says:

    Unconcerned Kristen Stewart Bedroom Scene Leak.

It’s weird to read this article then jump to the one about saying Kaddish……

The Sick History of Jewish Prostitution

Feb 10, 2010

The History of Jewish Prostitution

We must address Israeli prostitution as our problem

By Leonard Fein

Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, San Francisco – November 24, 1998 … story.html

It came as a shock: Jewish “women of the night.”

That was all the way back in 1960, glimpsing the streetwalkers as I was driving through Jaffa. Instinctively, I did what just about all Jews who cared for Israel had long since learned to do: I made excuses and developed relatively benign rationales. File under goy k’chol hagoyim, a nation like all others, and just hope that file stays much, much smaller than the or lagoyim — the lamp unto the nations file.

But before I’d had the time to tuck the matter away, a second and untuckable problem tumbled in. If there are Jewish whores, then Jewish pimps cannot be far behind. Jewish pimps? How can such a thing be? For the women they exploit, one can feel sympathy. But for the pimps? Vile, unacceptable. Where in your Zionist files do you lose them?

The answer is, of course, that you don’t. The answer is that life is complicated, and Judaism is not a vaccine. The answer, if you hang around long enough, is Jewish arms merchants and Jewish bank robbers and Jewish wife-beaters and all manner of Jewish miscreants — not, heaven forbid, in greater proportion than the foul of any other people, perhaps even, here and there, in smaller proportion. So why not Jewish pimps, too?

And you live with that answer and learn to handle all the bad stuff along with the decisive good. Your theory of Zion becomes more sophisticated, expansive enough to include Zion’s manifest imperfections.

But then, suddenly, you learn that it’s not garden-variety pimps you’re encountering, petty hustlers out of Israel’s underside. No, suddenly you learn that Israel has become a routine destination for the global trafficking of women, women coerced into prostitution.

The thousand such women brought into Israel annually derive principally from the countries of the former Soviet Union, and the way they get to Israel is that they are “purchased,” each one costing between $10,000 and $20,000. And they are, of course, expected to repay the cost to their masters through what amounts to indentured servitude — or, if you prefer the simpler and more straightforward, slavery.

Most of these women, these slaves, are in their early 20s, but some as young as 15, and even 12, have turned up in Tel Aviv. They are, according to the Haifa Police commander, routinely beaten, tortured, raped and drugged. They are isolated, deprived, threatened, their documents are destroyed. Indeed, they are told that if they are disobedient or seek to contact the police or the courts, their families back home will be punished.

How can such a monstrous crime persist? The answer, one supposes, is the same answer to the question asked about any country that makes room for trafficked women. Each woman earns between $50,000 and $100,000 a year for her pimp; the total turnover of the prostitution trade in Israel comes to some $450 million a year. And some Israeli experts believe that the Israeli police allow the pimps to operate because they make good snitches, they provide the police with information about other and presumably more serious crimes.

Chaim Nachman Bialik, the poet of the Hebrew renaissance, once said that he yearned for the day when there would be in (then) Palestine a Jewish jail, with a Jewish guard on the outside and a Jewish prisoner on the inside. But this? There is such a thing as “too normal.”

The Israel Women’s Network, Rabbis for Human Rights and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel are all “on the case,” and the Supreme Court and Knesset may soon intervene to inhibit the trade. But no one predicts an early and genuinely comprehensive effort to put an end to it.

We are told that we should not wash Israel’s dirty linen in public. But when the dirty linen is hanging out there for all to see, is it not proper that its energetic washing also be visible — along with efforts to prevent the linen’s soiling in the first place? After all, this is not a hawk vs. dove problem, nor an Orthodox vs. everybody else problem. It is about as basic a problem as you can have.

For those who operate in a traditional context, perhaps Purim, with its obvious references to the exploitation of women, will suffice. For all of us, we can now see the underside of globalization. Even if we are less emotionally engaged with the issue of women’s slavery when it plays out in Kuwait or in Germany than when it plays out in Israel, our response to the Israeli manifestation cannot be successful if it is compartmentalized.

And anyway, those other women, the ones who are sold off to countries outside our scope of concern — they, too, are women, girls really, and someone has to stand up for them, too. No?

The writer is founder and former editor of Moment magazine and a Boston-based writer for American Jewish newspapers.



After the Revolution of 1905, the Czar had prudently prepared for further outbreaks by transferring some $400 million in cash to the New York banks, Chase, National City, Guaranty Trust, J.P.Morgan Co., and Hanover Trust. In 1914, these same banks bought the controlling number of shares in the newly organized Federal Reserve Bank of New York, paying for the stock with the Czar’s sequestered funds. In November 1917, Red Guards drove a truck to the Imperial Bank and removed the Romanoff gold and jewels. The gold was later shipped directly to Kuhn, Loeb Co. in New York.– Curse of Canaan

herbcaen says:

I have an idea. Dump her over the fence to gaza

Pretty disgusting to accept we are no longer the Eretz Neederet.

Pretty disgusting to accept we are no longer the Eretz Neederet.

Why give this silly little slut any publicity at all. With prostitution comes all manner of other criminal activity and people like this French woman are in the thick of it. I find the statistics bandied about in this article somewhat difficult to believe – does every male in Israel visit prostitutes at least once a week? I hardly think so but that’s the impression this article leaves.

Destroying the myth that all Israel has for export are high tech products and Tephilin

Dolmance says:

I don’t think I’ve ever met a nice Jewish prostitute. And though I don’t go to prostitutes, I must say, I’m intrigued. Especially if they look like the woman in the picture.


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Exporting Israeli Prostitutes

The state’s first convicted female pimp calls herself a pioneer as the Knesset considers outlawing prostitution