Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
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Queensland Australia Prostitution Law
Proposed Brothel Changes:

There are two forms of legal sex work in Queensland:

• Private work (sole operators) – where a single sex worker works alone – is legal in Queensland.

• Sex work conducted in a licensed brothel is legal in Queensland.

Any other form of sex work is illegal in Queensland. This includes unlicensed brothels or parlours, street workers, two sex workers sharing one premises (even if the workers both work alone in split shifts), and out-calls provided by a licensed brothel.

MC to investigate whether legal prostitution can operate outside registered brothels
13 September , 2005

PETER CAVE:  Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission has been asked to investigate whether or not legal prostitution should be allowed to move out registered brothels. The brothel keepers are demanding the right to provide escort services, saying that's the only way for them to compete with unlicensed operators and remain financially viable. But a former prostitute has made an emotional appeal to the commission to say no, as Melanie Christiansen reports.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: There’s a simple reason why Queensland's 18 legal brothels are seeking the right to make outcalls – they say they're struggling financially against a thriving illegal prostitution industry. Cheryl Matthews represents workers in the sex industry.

CHERUL MATTHEWS: Legal brothels are doing it tough. Five workers, five rooms, is not a viable proposition. These guys have got to be doing it tough, and I think that if we can attach, if escort agencies can be attached to the legal brothels it's going to take a little bit of the pressure off them.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: That's one of issues up for consideration as part of the first review of the Queensland Prostitution Act of 1999, which created the State's first legal boutique brothels. Brothel director Nicole Mair says some of the restrictions on legal operators must be lifted, if they're to survive.

NICOLE MAIR: Most legal brothels are struggling.


NICOLE MAIR: It's predominantly because the regulations are extremely strict, we have to pay very, very high licensing fees, our running costs are very high and so in order to survive and make a profit, you have to sell an awful lot of sexual services.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: To increase their capacity to sell sexual services, legal operators want their prostitutes to be allowed to make out calls. That's supported by the Prostitution Licensing Authority and the Queensland Police Service. But there's fierce opposition from others, including sole operator sex workers.

Nicky, who wants to be known only by her first name, fears she could be forced out of the industry.NICKY: Since the opening of brothels, sole operators' income has decreased dramatically. We wouldn't like to see it decrease any further.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: Do you think this move will force you – sole operators – to work for other people?

NICKY: We're actually concerned that eventually we may be forced to work in brothels, that this is just a step towards eliminating sole operator sex workers from the industry, and that we will eventually be forced to work in brothels, which is something we don't want to do.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: And Nicky says there's no merit in the argument that brothels could provide a safer environment for prostitutes making outcalls.

NICKY: There's no guaranteed safety. You're still alone in a room with a stranger, in his house, and there's no one there to protect you.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: Former prostitute Bronwen Healy agrees making outcalls is a dangerous business.

BRONWEN HEALY: When I was working I was a 40-kilogram heroin-addicted prostitute and often did outcalls to men who are, you know, six-foot-six, 100 kilograms, never really sure of my safety. We had no idea who these guys were. We were going either to their hotel rooms or to their private homes, where you're going into their environment, so they feel like they're in control. If you don’t do something that they want you to do, you're putting yourself into a dangerous situation.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: Today Ms Healy appealed to Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission not to back an expanded the legal prostitution industry, by allowing brothels to make outcalls.

BRONWEN HEALY: If we legalise it, what we're saying to people, saying to men, married men, it's okay to go and see prostitutes, it's legal, which it's not, it's not okay, it is very degrading. Nobody said to me when I started work as a prostitute when you stop you're going to be depressed, suicidal, you know, you're going to hate men, you're going to have no self respect, it's going to take years to get over, which in turn is what happened.

MELANIE CHRISTIANSEN: And she's dismissed the brothel owners' argument that many illegal escorts will join the legal prostitution industry, if they were allowed to make outcalls.

BRONWEN HEALY: There are so many girls in the illegal industry that will never step over to the legal industry, because when they are working for themselves, they get 100 per cent of their money, they have freedom of choice as to what clients they see, what times they work. When you step over to the legal industry, you're giving your control over to somebody else.

PETER CAVE: Former prostitute and heroin addict Bronwen Healy, ending that report from Melanie Christiansen.