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A Knesset committee on Sunday published data showing courts had been soft on human trafficking in 2005.

According to the committee, sentences handed out to people convicted of human trafficking were considerably lower than the maximum permitted.

By law, the courts are allowed to fine people found guilty of trafficking up to NIS 228,000. In 2005, however, only 23 out of 73 people found guilty of such violations were fined.

Furthermore, the average fine imposed upon those found guilty was NIS 17,400 - only 7.6 percent of the maximum allowed by law.

Jail sentences handed out by the courts were also very low. The average prison term for one found guilty of human trafficking was four years - 16 years lower than the maximum.

The chairwoman of the Knesset subcommittee that deals with human trafficking and prostitution, MK Zahava Gal-on (Meretz), said in response that the government needed to take action to secure the rights of the victims.

"We must make sure the money expropriated from the convicted criminals will be passed on directly to the victims and not to the government coffers," Gal-on said.