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“Through Hidden Corridors” New trends in human trafficking which exploit the asylum system in Israel

“Through Hidden Corridors” New trends in human trafficking which exploit the asylum system in Israel

Since 2016 there has been a sharp rise in the number of Ukranians and Georgians applying for asylum in Israel. Data collected by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants shows that Israeli entities, including human resource companies, are involved in this rise by spreading mis-information in the the Ukraine and Georgia about the possibility of working legally in Israel.

due to the backlog at the Population and Immigration Authority’s Refugee Status Determination Unit (RSD) in Tel Aviv, the processing of asylum applications can be very slow. The dysfunctional asylum system is therefore being exploited to bypass the regulatory system for bringing migrant workers to Israel.

“It’s no problem to find someone who’ll help you get to Israel. There are thousands of results online. I went to a company who offered to help me for $1,200. I was afraid they were conning me because this business is thriving. People promise a lot of things, but nothing comes of it.”

Based on basic data and information collected by HRM, companies, at least some of whom are Israeli, openly publish misleading information about the options for Ukrainian and Georgian citizens to get a work visa in Israel. For example: “In the center of the country, for Ukrainians, Russians and Moldovans with refugee status (blue paper) housing is provided free of charge, travel to work is also free of charge, salary of 5500 shekels straight to you, for those who are interested call via Viber or the Israeli number— ”

On August 11, 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sent a letter to HRM detailed the case of V.P., a Ukrainian citizen who was identified as a victim of slavery after being deported from Israel.

HRM calls on PIBA and enforcement agencies to take legal action against those bodies profiteering from bringing workers in ‘by the back door’ while exploiting the already dysfunctional asylum system of the State of Israel. The Hotline objects to the damage this does to access to the asylum system and insists that the State of Israel has a duty to conduct a thorough review of the applications, even when they suspect the asylum system is being exploited.