Victoria has a long history of debating prostitution, and was the first State to advocate regulation as opposed to decriminalisation in New South Wales rather than suppression of prostitution. Legislative approaches and public opinion in Victoria have gradually moved from advocating prohibition to control through regulation. While much of the activities surrounding prostitution were initially criminalised de jure , de facto the situation was one of toleration and containment of 'a necessary evil'.
Laws against prostitution existed from the founding of the State in The Vagrant Act  included prostitution as riotous and indecent behaviour carrying a penalty of imprisonment for up to 12 months with the possibility of hard labour Part II, s 3. This Act was not repealed till , but was relatively ineffective either in controlling venereal diseases or prostitution. The Police Offences Act  separated riotous and indecent behaviour from prostitution, making it a specific offence for a prostitute to 'importune' a person in public s 7 2.
Despite the laws, prostitution flourished, the block of Melbourne bounded by La Trobe Street, Spring Street, Lonsdale Street and Exhibition Street being the main red light district, and their madams were well known. An attempt at suppression in was ineffectual. The Police offences Act  prohibited 'brothel keeping', leasing a premise for the purpose of a brothel, and living off prostitution ss 5, 6.
Despite a number of additional legislative responses in the early years of the century, enforcement was patchy at best.
Eventually amongst drug use scandals, brothels were shut down in the s. All of these laws were explicitly directed against women, other than living on the avails. In the s brothels evaded prohibition by operating as 'massage parlours', leading to pressure to regulate them, since public attitudes were moving more towards regulation rather than prohibition.
Community concerns were loudest in the traditional Melbourne stroll area of St. A Working Party was assembled in and led to the Planning Brothel Act ,  as a new approach. Part of the political bargaining involved in passing the act was the promise to set up a wider inquiry.
The inquiry was chaired by Marcia Neave , and reported in The recommendations to allow brothels to operate legally under regulation tried to avoid some of the issues that arose in New South Wales in It was hoped that regulation would allow better control of prostitution and at the same time reduce street work.
The Government attempted to implement these in the Prostitution Regulation Act This created an incoherent patchwork approach. In a working group was set up by the Attorney-General, which resulted in the Prostitution Control Act PCA  now known as the Sex Work Act  This Act legalises and regulates the operations of brothels and escort agencies in Victoria. 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. Human trafficking in Australia.
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Reproductive Health Matters Journal. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter. If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review. Read our community guidelines here. African and Mideast Business. ETFs Up and Down. Letters to the Editor. The Real Estate Market. Quick links Horoscopes Puzzles Customer service My account. Article text size A. Published July 15, Updated June 25, Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
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Read most recent letters to the editor. Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience.. All new brothels are limited to having no more than six rooms. Retrieved 22 December This in turn resulted in two pieces of legislation, the Prostitution Laws Amendment Act and the Prostitution Act In So Much Hard Work: It was replaced by the Sex Industry Offences Act If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review Read our community guidelines .
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