Using Google Trends to Examine Changes in the Demand for Prostitution in Israel


The 2019 Prohibition on Prostitution Consumption Law (Temporary Order and Legislative Amendment) was designed to reduce the scope of prostitution in Israel by prohibiting its consumption. According to the law, a person who “consumes an act of prostitution” or is found in a location used for prostitution commits an administrative offense punishable by a fine of NIS 2,000. A double fine will be paid in case of a repeat offense, while a criminal record will be opened for third-time offenders, in which case prosecution will also be considered. The law is a five-year temporary order, during which time a study is being conducted by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute to examine the implementation of the law and its effect on the consumption of prostitution. The current study is in addition to the forementioned study and examines trends of change in the demand for prostitution in Israel using the Google Trends website.


The objective of the study was to examine trends of change in the demand for prostitution in Israel using data on Google searches using prostitution-related terms. Specifically, the study examines changes in the demand for prostitution after the legislation of the Prohibition on Prostitution Consumption Law and will help draw conclusions about the impact of law and whether to extend the law for an additional period.


Based on interviews with experts on prostitution, women in prostitution and consumers of prostitution, it was decided to examine trends in internet searches using the Hebrew equivalents of the following three terms commonly used in Google searches for prostitution in Israel: “prostitutes”, “call girls” and “private apartments”. The search data was collected from the Google Trends website for the period between February 2013 and January 2023.

The data were processed using SPSS v. 28.  Diagrams were produced to depict search trends across those years, based on the raw data as well as after adjusting the raw data for random and seasonal variation. The turning points in the trends were identified using join point regressions. In addition, linear regression analyses were performed to compare the three years before the law was passed with three other major periods: the period after the law was passed and before the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the pandemic period, and the post-pandemic period (the second half of 2022). In order to examine trends in searches that represented an activity influenced by the COVID-19 regulations that was unrelated to the demand for prostitution, we also collected Google Trends data for the term “gym” and used them to produce diagrams and regressions identical to those of the three search terms.

Main Findings

After the 2019 law was passed, the search volume of the three terms dropped. A drop was noticed for the search term “prostitutes” even before the law was passed, a trend that continued thereafter. In the search terms “call girls” and “private apartments”, a turning point was identified shortly after the law was passed. As indicated by models based on join point regression, the trend changes were significant. The scope of these searches dropped to the lowest point upon the outbreak of the pandemic, followed by an unstable pattern. Despite a trend of increased searches in the post-pandemic period, the scope of searches during this period remained significantly lower than in the pre-legislation period.

The search volume of the term “gym” dropped upon the introduction of the COVID-19 restrictions but reverted to its previous level after the restrictions were revoked and normal activities were fully resumed in the second half of 2022. This finding suggests that the reduced demand for prostitution after the 2019 law was not a delayed result of the pandemic.

Summary and Conclusions

Overall, the findings suggest that following the inception of the 2019 law, the demand for prostitution in Israel dropped. Nevertheless, the findings should be supported by an additional examination that will consider the scope of searches in 2023. This study contributes to our understanding of trends of change in the demand for prostitution in Israel, and points to the potential of the Google Trends website for identifying social trends and shaping policies.

Citing suggestion: Levi-Zohar, A., Falk, A., Rivkin, D., & Hartal, M. (2023). Using Google Trends to Examine Changes in the Demand for Prostitution in Israel. RR-976-23. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)