Notable achievements of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants:
– Abolishing the “Binding Law” – Following a petition by a number of human rights organizations, the HRM among them, the High Court of Justice ruled in 2006 that the arrangement of “binding” migrant workers to their employers “resembles modern slavery” and must be ended. Under the Binding Arrangement, migrant workers had to work for the employer named in their visa to maintain their legal status in Israel. Employers abused this arrangement to underpay their migrant employees, house them in substandard conditions, confiscate their passports, limit their movement and threaten them with deportation.
– Improving Israel’s Anti-Trafficking Legislation – In 2001 the HRM’s advocacy work resulted in a damning report by the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons unit which placed Israel on its Tier 3, meaning the country was doing nothing to end human trafficking. This lead Israeli authorities to realize there was a serious problem of trafficking women for sex work in Israel. Following petitions and public advocacy by the HRM, in February 2004 the first shelter for trafficking victims was opened in Tel Aviv. In June 2006, a comprehensive bill banning all forms of human trafficking (and not just for prostitution) was passed into law.
– Legal Status for Children of Migrant Workers Following public advocacy and legal proceedings in a joint campaign with partner organizations, the Israeli government decided twice (2006, 2010) to grant legal status to undocumented children of migrant workers living in Israel.
– State-Sponsored Legal Aid for Trafficking Victims – Following a petition in which the Hotline served as a amicus curiae the Knesset passed a law mandating the State to .rovide legal representation to survivors of trafficking in persons Following another petition by the Hotline and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the State also began providing medical services to human trafficking victims.
– Detention Review Tribunals established – A petition filed by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) resulted in the establishment of the Detention Review Tribunals in immigration detention which ensure judicial review of the detention of migrants.
– State-sponsored Legal Aid for Unaccompanied Minors – Legal proceedings by the HRM and ACRI compelled the State to provide legal representation and welfare services to unaccompanied minors.
– Rights for Pregnant Migrant Women – In response to a petition by the HRM and fellow NGOs, the High Court of Justice in April 2011 overturned a procedure pertaining to pregnant migrant women. Under this procedure, migrant mothers had to leave the country within three months of giving birth and return to the ,country within two years without the child in order to regain their work permits.
– Anti-Infiltration Law Overturned In a ruling on a petition served by the HRM and other human rights NGOs, the High Court of Justice voided Amendment No. 3 to the Anti-Infiltration Law (2012) in September 2013. Under this amendment, asylum-seekers were detained for a minimum period of three years after arriving in Israel, except for extraordinary humanitarian circumstances.
In 2001, ACRI awarded the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants with the Emil Greenzweig Award for our work to defend the rights of migrant workers and human trafficking. The Israeli financial daily, TheMarker selected the executive director of the Hotline at the time, Shevy Korzen, as one of the Top Ten people to have influenced Israel positively in 2005. In 2007, the Sderot Conference granted the Hotline an award for outstanding work for society. In March 2009, in the first year the award was granted, the HRM received the National Medal for Combatting Human Trafficking from the President, Shimon Peres. In May 2011, the Hotline was declared an Honorary Fellow of the Bet Berl College.