Prostitution, Prostitutes, Escorts, World Sex Guide

Australia Legal

Extract from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald 1st July 1995 (just
after the Hugh Grant incident):

The Law

"A man caught in a 'lewd' and compromising position with a prostitute in the
back streets of Wooloomooloo, under New South Wales law could be charged
with engaging in an act of prostitution. It is highly unlikely, however,
that these charges would be pressed.

"Roberta Perkins, an academic specialising in Sydney's sex industry, says
that few clients in NSW are ever charged by police, and if anyone was
charged it would most likely be the prostitute.

"'The man has got a family to go home to, but the police never assume that
sex workers have families as well,' says Perkins.

"According to Perkins, prostitution is now 'partially decriminalised' in NSW
, but the laws needed to be amended further. She believes that the present
state of the laws left the way open for corruption.

"Perkins described the sex trade as a "major industry" in NSW, and believes
it needs to be treated as such. She said that drugs and corruption were an
aspect of prostitution, but the majority of prostitutes and brothel owners
were otherwise law abiding citizens providing a service to the public.

"'When the government catches up to society and decides to amend the laws
there needs to be wide consultation with the community,' Perkins said. 'They
would not make changes to laws governing other industries without
consultation and this industry should not be any different.'

"These are some facts regarding prostitution in NSW:
     Prostitution in a brothel is not illegal, unless the establishment
advertises spa and massage facilities.  Then workers could be charged.
     Brothel owners and receptionists can be charged with living off the
earnings of prostitution.
     Working on the streets as a prostitute is not illegal unless the
soliciting is done within the view of a school, church or house and as long
as the act does not take place in public view.
     All brothels can be closed under the Disorderly Houses Act if police
gather information that proves that prostitution is taking place.
     In Sydney there are about 1000 female prostitutes and 200 male
prostitutes.  Thousands more workers such as the owners, receptionists and
cleaners earn their living from prostitution, which services 30,000 clients
each week - more than 1.5 million acts each year.
     Sydney's male prostitutes service mainly male clients, although there
are a growing number of females engaging their services.
     There is an almost universal use of condoms and safe sex practices
among sex workers. In brothels it is enforced by management.
     The centre of the sex industry is Kings Cross and Surry Hills but there
are more than 100 brothels scattered throughout the Sydney suburbs.

end of extract

Subject: [ASP] Comment: Decriminalization of Prostitution in Australia Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 02:04:02 GMT An Australian sex worker provides the following comments on decriminalization vs. legalization of prostitution in Australia (see the ASP FAQ Part 2 for general discussion of the differences between decriminalization and legalization of prostitution): Prostitution was decriminalised in the Australian state of New South Wales back in 1979. Since then a number of other Australian states have either decriminalised or legalised prostitution (some states also continue the prohibition approach). Decriminalisation has worked well here. In New South Wales the model is not to use the criminal code to control prostitution (criminal laws having been removed), but instead environmental and planning codes are used to control the locations where prostitution occurs. For example, street prostitution is illegal when it occurs within the view of a school, church, hospital or residential ground floor dwelling. The main benefits we've found from decriminalisatin is a reduction in organised crime involvement in the sex industry, reduction in the incidence of pimping and/or trafficking in women and a reduction in police corruption. Decriminalisation was actually brought in originally to address the rampant police corruption bred by years of severe prostitution laws; it was not brought in to give prostitutes a better deal, to address injustice or anything like that, though these were by-products. Legalisation hasn't worked as well as decriminalisation, mostly because legalisation includes heavy criminalisation of prostitution that occurs outside the legal framework; thus the problems of illegal prostitution live on even though it's been legalised. The things I mention above about decriminalisation are not just my personal opinions. Much of what I said can be found in various government reports and other "conventional" assessments of decriminalisation by people not involved in providing sex services. It is common knowledge in New Sout Wales that decriminalisation reduces organised crime, pimping & police corruption. Legalisation, on the other hand, has been heavily criticized in the same mediums for not providing any of the benefits of decriminalization and is much less favoured in this country as a way of dealing with prostitution.
Subject: World Sex Guide - Australia Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 13:40:17 +1000 Hiya Atta! What a great site the world sex guide is! I thought I'd msg you and give you the recent info on Australia, though - as much of yours is out of date. I'll take it state by state, and then do a general national overview. Firstly - New South Wales. (NSW) - all your stuff in the decriminalization in NSW section is correct and up to date. What it doesn't mention is that NSW is more than just Sydney - and that the legislation has proved to be difficult for country towns and larger regional towns. Most local councils don't want brothels in "their" town, but the law says that they cannot close a brothel simply because it is a brothel. Nor can they ban brothels all together - they must put in place a brothel policy that allows for brothel development in some capacity. What this means in reality is that they often make it really difficult for brothels to meet standards etc. As far as making money goes - Sydney is a good place to work for sex workers. They certainly make more money than many other locations around Australia! Sex worker organisation is Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) and their email address is: URL: Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - ACT has THE most progressive prostitution laws in Australia, if not the world. We have legal brothels, legal escort (outcall) services, and it is legal for single private workers to work alone from their homes. Police have no control over the industry. There are currently (June 1997) 16 Brothels in Canberra and about 20-30 privates working in any week. The sex worker rights group is called Workers In Sex Employment (WISE) in the ACT Inc. and our phone number is +61 2 62473443 email: URL: Victoria (Vic.) has the oldest legal sex industry in Australia. It also has the largest population of sex workers, currently (June 1998) about 3,500. Unfortunately, only some brothels are legal, so this has created a two-tiered system whereby there is a small legal industry and a HUGE illegal industry, including street workers. Most street workers can be found in St Kilda, where the sex worker rights organisation is also found. They are: Prostitutes Collective of Victoria (PCV) no email address, but the URL is: South Australian (S.A.) prostitution laws have not been reformed since the 19th century! It is illegal to operate, reception or work in a brothel in Adelaide, although Escorting (outcalls) are tolerated. The South Australian sex workers have been lobbying for law reform for years, but still a viable legislative system has yet to be developed by policy makers. Currently police (under the bizarre name of "Operation Patriot"!) raid brothels and private workers regularly, taking condoms as evidence of prostitution taking place. This is an occupational health and safety issue that makes a mockery of South Australian government's stated committment to reducing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Even the general community has been crying out for law reform - lets hope it happens soon! The South Australian sex worker organisation is called South Australian Sex Industry Network (SASIN) and their email address is: Western Australia (W.A.)is another place that hasn't changed their laws since the 19th Century! The sex industry in W.A. is spread from Perth (the capital), right over to the mining community of Kalgoorlie - which is also famous for its brothels. W.A. has had an unwritten policy of "containment", which means that everything is illegal, but some things are tolerated, as long as police have total knowledge and control over the industry. The Kalgoorlie brothels attract a large number of workers despite their isolated location and rough conditions. Up until recently, hookers were not allowed to have family who lived in the town, attend bars or restaraunts, swim in the local swimming pool (!) and had to be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in town. The WA sex worker organisation is called PHOENIX and their email address is: Queensland (QLD) is yet another state with draconian legislation that has directly contributed to the murders of several sex workers over the past 2 years. The only way a person can work legally in Qld is if they work completely alone from home. This renders the workers vulnerable to violence from clients who wish to deliberately harm them. Any person who lives or associates with sex workers can be charged under pimping laws - even the worker's adult children! Pimping laws are soooo passe! What gives ANY government the right to decide who we (hookers) can and can't live with or give our money to? As an adult woman - I find this patronizing and infantilizing. In the so-called "sunshine state", even a taxi driver can be charged under current laws if he drives a sex worker to a job! Qld have been talking about reviewing their legislation (not before time!), but as yet, no positive changes have been made. The sex worker organisation in Qld is Called Self health for Queensland Workers In the Sex Industry (SQWISI) and their email address is: Northen Territory (NT) has partially reformed their prostitution laws to make escorting (outcalls) legal. Escort Agency operators must apply for a licence from the "Prostitution Control Board" and renew them annually. Single freelance workers are exempt from licencing, but those who work for the escort agencies must be "certified" by police. Police will issue certificates to workers who have not been convicted of violent offences, or drug offences in the last 10 years. Brothels are illegal and only a few at a time operate before they get closed down by police. NT is considering changes to their legislation. The sex worker rights organisation is called SIANT and their email address is: The Tasmanian (Tas.) sex industry is totally unregulated and is like the Wild West! The industry is largely controlled by Motorcycle Clubs and underworld criminals, and is renowned for violence and standover tactics. It is not a large industry (only approx.100-150 workers in any week) compared to other states. Tas. is another state who are considering reforming their laws, and much media debate has been focussed on prostitution of late (June 1998). Escorts and sole workers can work legally, but brothels are illegal. Tasmania's sex worker organisation is called Sex Workers Of Tasmania (SWOT) and they do have an email address, but can be faxed on +61 3 6427 0768 The SCARLET ALLIANCE is the name of the National Sex Worker Rights Organisation, and each state has members. Scarlet Alliance influences policy decisions on both a local and national level and is involved with several international projects that aim to empower sex workers in under developed countries. Scarlet can be contacted on: If Australia were to decriminalise sex work in all states, the revenue that could be collected from tax alone would be phenomenal (in excess of 80 million dollars per annum).

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