TEL AVIV, Israel – Human trafficking (search) is turning into a real problem in Israel, where law enforcement officials say women are bought and sold into the indentured servitude of the sex industry.
The women in question are usually from the former Soviet Union (search) and are traded by the Russian mob (search). The same Bedouins who smuggle weapons into Israel bring the women up through the Egyptian desert, oftentimes with a load of weapons.
"It's a kind of meat market. It's very brutal — most of this kind of auction," said Gadi Eshed of the Israel Police.
Thinking they are escaping the harsh conditions of home, a reported 3,000 prostitutes each year come to Israel. Their fist experience in the Holy Land is a forced march across the Egyptian desert, crossing the Israeli border through routes used to smuggle weapons and drugs.
"They have a big gun. If you not go like everybody, then maybe they kill you," said one woman.
Once across the border, the women are asked to perform various acts, then traded. When sold, police say their passports are confiscated by their owners and they're locked in brothels where they're forced to work off their $4,000 to $10,000 price tag.
Traffickers spend about $21 million a year to get the girls into Israel. Each prostitute can earn them more than $200,000 annually; the take for one year of smuggled women is about $62 million.
Israel recently got off the U.S. State Department's black list of nations that allow human trafficking by prosecuting the individuals who buy, sell and transport the women. But in the last two years, Israeli police have raided more than 200 brothels, prosecuting 150 traffickers.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Mike Tobin.