Cashed-up FIFO workers come ready to splash some serious cash. Contractors often fly into Western Australia from homes elsewhere for fast cash. They work for weeks at a time offshore or in isolated mines.
Because they have scant chance of finding a relationship if single, or find themselves far away from their wives and families if married, many turn to sex workers for intimacy. Here, local newspapers are chockablock with classifieds ads for sex workers. Langtrees, one of the oldest and most expensive establishments, is more up-market.
With its discreet door hidden down a dark side street, Langtrees is a different sort of night-life institution. But men also come here willing to splash serious cash. On this steamy summer night, a plump man in glasses loiters shyly near the reception.
Seeing his resolve waver, the madam quickly whisks him away to introduce to a woman. A group of intoxicated Irish men from the nearby casino sway near the pool table, slurping beer. Later, two men in their early 20s — both good-looking, one with a mane of trendy dreadlocks — are introduced to a gaggle of women.
Langtrees, which has branches across Australia, prides itself on its lounge atmosphere. Women in skimpy clothes and sky-high heels still do line-ups for clients to take their pick. They all have profiles online with vital statistics listed: But more often, men come in with their mates, have a drink, play some pool, and chat with the women before heading upstairs.
But when it comes down to business, things quickly become more regulated. Private rooms with names such as Double Delight and Golden Dreams are decked out with gaudy murals of sex acts and cheap sheets.
Once the door is closed, the woman will ask the man to shower. Only after she has inspected him for genital warts, suspicious discharge, and rashes if needed she will call downstairs for a second opinion will the session start. In Western Australia, the sex-work industry operates in a grey zone: Prostitution is not illegal, but activities associated with it, such as brothels and pimping, are.
In some other states, it is legal. For years, however, authorities have turned a blind eye to places like Langtrees. And, like the miners, sex workers have flocked to Perth from homes elsewhere — sometimes travelling from as far afield as Europe or South America — for the high demand and wages.
Essentially they are renting the Langtrees brand. The money makes it worth it. The top women might double that. In Western Australia, the sex-work industry operates in a grey zone. Eliza, 25, divides her time between shifts at the hospital where she works as a nurse and escorting. As an avid competitive horsewoman, she is also about to launch her own equestrian sportswear company. While she comes from a middle-class family — her father is high up in government — she is fiercely independent.
Now she has no need to. Bubbly, fun, and bright, she lives in Perth with her partner, who works in the mining industry, but keeps her sideline income hidden from him, as well as friends and family. That annoys me because it is purely just a job. I have a fake name when I work but I offer the real me —[men] appreciate the realness because real women turn them on. In the bunk room, Alina, the Russian, is taking a break.
She adjusts her ponytail and pink body-con dress and takes a bite of her Big Mac. But when her partner left her to bring up their small son alone, she struggled and was forced to go on the dole: My baby can have everything. Every week, he was withdrawing hundreds of dollars in cash.
I'd found the answer, without knowing what I'd been searching for. Chris was dozing when I went into the bedroom. I've been looking at your bank statements and there are only three possible explanations for how you spend so much money. One, you're on drugs — and I know you're not. Two, you're a gambler — and I know you're not. Or three, you're using prostitutes …".
He confessed he'd been going to sex workers and lap-dancing clubs for 14 years. He cried, begged me to help him, but I couldn't even look at him. I was disgusted — more because he was perpetuating an industry I abhorred than that he'd been unfaithful. I didn't get on with the program so I turned to friends, which was a mistake because their reaction — "ditch him! Of course I'd considered that, but I couldn't just walk away. Our life became exhausting. I interrogated him constantly, wanting to know every detail.
Did he have a favourite brothel? Did he see the same woman? And over and over: There was no answer to that one that satisfied me. Apparently, it had started after a row with a former girlfriend. He'd been propositioned by a sex worker and accepted. He asked me to think of it like a drug.
The difference between the two is that in the case of a brothel clients come to the place of business, which is subject to local council planning controls. In the case of an escort agency, clients phone the agency and arrange for a sex worker to come to their homes or motels.
A brothel must obtain a permit from the local council Section 21A. A brothel or escort agency must not advertise its services. Section 18 Also, a brothel operator must not allow alcohol to be consumed at the brothel, Section 21 nor apply for a liquor licence for the premises; nor may they allow a person under the age of 18 years to enter a brothel nor employ as a sex worker a person under 18 years of age, Section 11A though the age of consent in Victoria is 16 years. Owner-operated brothels and private escort workers are not required to obtain a licence, but must be registered, and escorts from brothels are permitted.
If only one or two sex workers run a brothel or escort agency, which does not employ other sex workers, they also do not need a licence, but are required to be registered. However, in all other cases, the operator of a brothel or escort agency must be licensed. The licensing process enables the licensing authority to check on any criminal history of an applicant. All new brothels are limited to having no more than six rooms. However, larger brothels which existed before the Act was passed were automatically given licences and continue to operate, though cannot increase the number of rooms.
Sex workers employed by licensed brothels are not required to be licensed or registered. Amending Acts were passed in and , and a report on the state of sex work in Victoria issued in The Act is now referred to as the Sex Work Act In further amendments were introduced,  and assented to in December The stated purposes of the Act  is to assign and clarify responsibility for the monitoring, investigation and enforcement of provisions of the Sex Work Act; to continue the ban on street prostitution.
When the oppositional Coalition government was elected in it decided to retain the legislation. Sullivan and Jeffries also wrote in the report that the legislation change of created new problems:. Ongoing adjustments to legislation became necessary as state policy makers attempted to deal with a myriad of unforeseen issues that are not addressed by treating prostitution as commercial sex—child prostitution, trafficking of women, the exploitation and abuse of prostituted women by big business.
The reality is that prostitution cannot be made respectable. Legalisation does not make it so. Prostitution is an industry that arises from the historical subordination of women and the historical right of men to buy and exchange women simply as objects for sexual use. It thrives on poverty, drug abuse, the trafficking in vulnerable women and children Legalisation compounds the harms of prostitution rather than relieving them. It is not the answer.
In November , 95 licensed brothels existed in Victoria and a total of small owner-operators were registered in the state Of these, were escort agents, two were brothels, and two were combined brothels and escort agents. Of the 95 licensed brothels, rooms existed and four rooms were located in small exempt brothels. Of licensed prostitution service providers i. However, a study conducted by the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Victoria's Alfred Hospital , concluded that "The number of unlicensed brothels in Melbourne is much smaller than is generally believed.
A total of advertisements, representing separate establishments, were analysed. As of April , street prostitution continues to be illegal in the state of Victoria  and the most recent review process of the legislation in terms of street-based sex work occurred at the beginning of the 21st century and a final report was published by the Attorney General's Street Prostitution Advisory Group. Kilda , located in the City of Port Phillip, is a metropolitan location in which a significant level of street prostitution occurred—this remained the case in The Advisory Group consisted of residents, traders, street-based sex workers, welfare agencies, the City of Port Phillip, the State Government and Victoria Police, and released the final report after a month period.
The Advisory Group seeks to use law enforcement strategies to manage and, where possible, reduce street sex work in the City of Port Phillip to the greatest extent possible, while providing support and protection for residents, traders and workers. It proposes a harm minimisation approach to create opportunities for street sex workers to leave the industry and establish arrangements under which street sex work can be conducted without workers and residents suffering violence and abuse A two-year trial of tolerance areas and the establishment of street worker centres represents the foundation of the package proposed by the Advisory Group.
Tolerance areas would provide defined geographic zones in which clients could pick-up street sex workers. The areas would be selected following rigorous scrutiny of appropriate locations by the City of Port Phillip, and a comprehensive process of community consultation. Tolerance areas would be created as a Local Priority Policing initiative and enshrined in an accord. The concluding chapter of the report is entitled "The Way Forward" and lists four recommendations that were devised in light of the publication of the report.
The four recommendations are listed as: Alongside numerous other organisations and individuals, SA released its response to the recommendations of the Committee that were divided into two sections: Opposition to all of the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry 2. In terms of HIV, a journal article by the Scarlet Alliance SA organisation—based on research conducted in —explained that it is illegal for a HIV-positive sex worker to engage in sex work in Victoria; although, it is not illegal for a HIV-positive client to hire the services of sex workers.
Additionally, according to the exact wording of the SA document, "It is not a legal requirement to disclose HIV status prior to sexual intercourse; however, it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly infect someone with HIV.
In the state of Victoria, there are 3. According to her report, there has been an overall growth in the industry since legalisation in the mids and that with increased competition between prostitution businesses, earnings have decreased; 20 years ago there were to women in prostitution as a whole, as of the report, there were women in the legal trade alone and the illegal trade was estimated to be 4 to 5 times larger.
These legal businesses are commonly used by criminal elements as a front to launder money from human trafficking, underage prostitution, and other illicit enterprises. In addition, hoteliers, casinos, taxi drivers, clothing manufacturers and retailers, newspapers, advertising agencies, and other logically-related businesses profit from prostitution in the state.
One prostitution business in Australia is publicly traded on the Australian stock exchange. Sullivan's claims have been widely disputed. Like other Australian states, Western Australia has had a long history of debates and attempts to reform prostitution laws. In the absence of reform, varying degrees of toleration have existed.
The current legislation is the Prostitution Control Act Despite the fact that brothels are illegal, the state has a long history of tolerating and unofficially regulating them. Prostitution in Western Australia has been intimately tied to the history of gold mining. Like other Australian colonies, legislation tended to be influence by developments in Britain. The Police Act was no different, establishing penalties for soliciting or vagrancy, while the Criminal Law Amendment Act dealt with procurement.
Brothel keepers were prosecuted under the Municipal Institutions Act , by which all municipalities had passed brothel suppression by-laws in Prostitution was much debated in the media and parliament, but despite much lobbying, venereal diseases were not included in the Health Act The war years and the large number of military personnel in Perth and Fremantle concentrated attention on the issue, however during much of Western Australian history, control of prostitution was largely a police affair rather than a parliamentary one, as a process of 'containment'.
In addition to the above the following laws dealt with prostitution: Prostitution Bills were also introduced in  and Much of the debate on the subject under this government centred on the Prostitution Amendment Act ,  introduced in by the Alan Carpenter 's Australian Labor Party Government. Although it passed the upper house narrowly and received Royal Assent on 14 April , it was not proclaimed before the state election , in which the Carpenter and the ALP narrowly lost power in September, and therefore remained inactive.
The Act was based partly on the approach taken in in New Zealand and which in turn was based on the approach in NSW. It would have decriminalised brothels and would have required certification certification would not have applied to independent operators.
Therefore, the Act continued to be in force. Brothels existed in a legal grey area, although 'containment' had officially been disbanded, in Perth in and subsequently in Kalgoorlie.
In opposition the ALP criticised the lack of action on prostitution by the coalition government. His critics stated that Porter "would accommodate the market demand for prostitution by setting up a system of licensed brothels in certain non-residential areas" and that people "should accept that prostitution will occur and legalise the trade, because we can never suppress it entirely" and that it is "like alcohol or gambling — saying it should be regulated rather than banned. Porter challenged his critics to come up with a better model and rejected the Swedish example of only criminalising clients.
However he followed through on a promise he made in early to clear the suburbs of sex work. Porter released a ministerial statement  and made a speech in the legislature on 25 November ,   inviting public submissions. The plan was immediately rejected by religious groups. By the time the consultation closed on 11 February , submissions were received, many repeating many of the arguments of the preceding years. This time Porter found himself criticised by both sides of the debate, for instance churches that supported the Coalition position in opposition, now criticised them,  while sex worker groups that supported the Carpenter proposals continued to oppose coalition policies,   as did health groups.
On 14 June the Minister made a 'Green Bill'  draft legislation available for public comment over a six-week period. Following consultation, the government announced a series of changes to the bill that represented compromises with its critics,  and the changes were then introduced into parliament on 3 November ,  where it received a first and second reading. Sex workers continued to stand in opposition. Since the government was in a minority, it required the support of several independent members to ensure passage through the Legislative Assembly.
Porter left State politics in June , being succeeded by Michael Mischin. Mischin admitted it would be unlikely that the bill would pass in that session. The Barnett government was returned in that election with a clear majority, but stated it would not reintroduce the previous bill and that the subject was a low priority.
Meanwhile, sex workers continue to push for decriminalisation. Christmas Island is a former British colony, which was administered as part of the Colony of Singapore. The laws of Singapore , including prostitution law, were based on British law.
For the current situation see Western Australia. After transfer of sovereignty to Australia in , Singapore's colonial law was still in force on the islands until For the current situation see New South Wales. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sex work is legal and regulated. Independent sex work is legal, but brothels are illegal; prostitution is not regulated.
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I was disgusted — more because he was perpetuating an industry I abhorred than that he'd been unfaithful. I didn't get on with the program so I turned to friends, which was a mistake because their reaction — "ditch him!
Of course I'd considered that, but I couldn't just walk away. Our life became exhausting. I interrogated him constantly, wanting to know every detail. Did he have a favourite brothel? Did he see the same woman? And over and over: There was no answer to that one that satisfied me. Apparently, it had started after a row with a former girlfriend. He'd been propositioned by a sex worker and accepted.
He asked me to think of it like a drug. Three months later, Chris moved out and I lost control. I went to the brothels he'd visited to find the women he'd been with. I wanted to know their names, their backgrounds, details that would help me humanise them.
To him they were completely anonymous, but I thought if I could make him see them as individuals it would help him stop. There was also a part of me that wanted to see what these girls were like and what they could tell me about him — but they said nothing. Then we tried couples' counselling.
But Chris felt I would always be waiting for a relapse, so we parted. Five years on, I'm still damaged. I'll read something about the sex trade and I'll feel that same hollowed-out sadness.