Israel moves to fight surrogacy, claiming it encourages trafficking


As numerous countries grapple with the exploitative nature of surrogacy, Israel has begun raising warnings about it as well, warning that women being used as surrogates are exploited and abused so severely that it equates to human trafficking.

A report from the Israeli Justice Ministry’s National Anti-Trafficking Unit (NATU) reported that surrogate mothers from countries like Albania, Kenya, and northern Cyprus have serious legal issues, with “indications of a violation of the basic rights of the surrogate women and their dignity, while objectifying them and limiting their freedom.” There were also concerns that the surrogates were being trafficked.

NATU found that criminal organizations have been involved in surrogacy schemes, with vulnerable women taken from other countries, and in addition to surrogacy, are forced into prostitution.

Attorney Dina Dominitz, the coordinator of Israel’s Unit for Combating Trafficking, told local media that the situation is dire enough that surrogacy is banned in those countries for Israeli citizens.

READ: Surrogate pressured to abort after cancer diagnosis: ‘The fathers wanted a death certificate’

“The reason that made it necessary to ban the surrogacy procedure in the two countries, Albania and Kenya, and in the specific region of Cyprus is based on the need to prevent any harm to those involved in any way in this complicated and yet sensitive process of surrogacy, surrogate mothers, parents-to-be and of course babies born under conditions of dubious legality,” she said. “This ban is intended to protect Israeli citizens from the very serious legal complications they will face. It also derives from Israel’s commitment to international legality to fight international crime, particularly trafficking, within the framework of international legal assistance and existing international conventions.”

Wealthy foreigners have notoriously used surrogates from poverty-stricken countries like Ukraine, Georgia, Colombia, and Thailand, leading those governments to ban foreign or commercial surrogacy in an attempt to end the exploitation of women. The Casablanca Declaration, signed by a coalition of 100 experts from 75 countries, likewise called for an international ban on surrogacy, saying it “violates human dignity” and “contributes to the commodification of women and children.”

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