Argaman is proud to be the first organisation in the history of Israel to be established and managed by sex workers and for sex workers without discrimination of gender, sexuality or background. Argaman is part of the global “red umbrella” alliance, which is aimed at non-judgmental mutual support and standing up for the rights of workers in the field. We fight against indictment legislation, promote an open and stigma-free public discourse, and support welfare and the exercise of rights.
Board of Directors
Ayellet Ben Ner (CoB), Ana Ulitsky, Hilla Eisar Almagor, Nily Gorin, Sivan Levi, Guy Liron, Daniel Oz, Rivka Arama, Ella Katzman
Idan Buzaglo, Niv Hadash
Sex work is work that centres on a service of a sexual nature that is provided for a fee. Despite the recent revision of criminal laws, there are at least fifteen thousand Sex Workers inn Israel today. Most of them are women providing services that include prostitution, striptease, erotic massage, BDSM, pornography among others. They work in both regulated institutions as well as privately. For many sex workers, entering the field is a choice of the best among their options, yet a combination of severe stigma and institutionalised persecution creates difficulties and dangers for many sex workers. Therefore, Argaman does not encourage sex work, rather we empower practitioners in the field to claim their rights and make their own choices.
Over the years, more and more field research and comparative studies show that the criminalization of the sex industry has failed in all areas – not only in its naive attempt to “eradicate” the industry but also by failing to guarantee indicators for the sex worker’s quality of life: personal security, health, and socioeconomic mobility. Even when the indictment does not focus on the sex worker herself, it still treats her as an accomplice to crime, pushing her into the underworld, worsening the social stigma towards her, exposing her to violence and police extortion, and distancing her from the law, welfare and health services.
Decriminalisation is the policy most supported by large Health and Human Rights Organisations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the United Nations AIDS Agency, worldwide LGBTI Organisations and of course, the Red Umbrella Organisations established by sex workers themselves. Argaman believes that stigmatisation, criminalisation and policing are not the way to empower marginalised populations. Sex Workers include single mothers, trans women, immigrants, and woman and men from various disadvantaged groups, whose incrimination deprives them of resources and reduces the few options they have left, making it even more difficult to leave the industry when they decide it is time. Argaman strives to change policy in a way that will increase alternative possibilities and accessibility to resources such as professional training, social assistance, health exams, welfare, justice, and guidance in case of sexual assault.
Argaman arose as a grass-roots movement, established by people who are or have been directly involved in Sex Work. The organization is the latest incarnation of a struggle we have been waging for a long time in the field, for our right to speak for ourselves, to make our voices heard, and not to be trampled under patronizing attempts to “save” and “rehabilitate” us with inattention and disregard for our desires. Our inability to prevent the dangerous enactment in 2018 of the “Customer Incrimination Act” known worldwide as the Nordic Model, was the last catalyst that motivated us to organize ourselves. Our unification into a community began on the When She Works Facebook page, where Sex Workers talk about their experiences and express opinions and ideas. In 2019, Argaman was founded by present and past sex workers, who were joined by social workers, researchers, and social activists. Argaman is an officially registered association.