During the height of the phenomenon, from the beginning of the 1990s to the early years of 2000, an estimated 3,000 women a year were brought to Israel on the false promise of jobs and a better way of life.
Last year, the United Nations named Israel as one of the main destinations in the world for trafficked women; it has also consistently appeared as an offender in the annual US State Department's Trafficking in Persons (Tip) report. [Tier Two Watchlist- the same as Ukraine]
In all cases, the traffickers - as many as 20 in the chain from recruitment to sale - take away the women's passports before selling them on to pimps. Sometimes the women are subjected to degrading human auctions, where they are stripped, examined and sold for $8,000-$10,000.
For years, Israel treated trafficked women as criminals"When they come here they are in a bad condition," said Rinat Davidovich, the shelter's director.
"Most have sexual diseases and some have hepatitis and even tuberculosis. They also have problems going to sleep because they remember what used to happen to them at night," she said. "It's very hard and it's a long procedure to start to help and treat them."