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In the Australian literature on sex work, brothel work is generally defined as multiple sex workers working at premises where services are provided on-site. Private work refers to a sex worker arranging jobs independently Donovan et al. Escort agency work involves jobs that are arranged by a business escort agency , and services are provided off-site at a location arranged by the client.

Some brothels fulfil a similar function by arranging services to be provided by their employees off-site Donovan et al. As outlined later in this report, the legislation concerning sex workers in Australia generally distinguishes between the provision of services at on-site premises at sex industry or sole-operator businesses such as brothels or massage parlours, or residences , at off-site premises arranged through an agency or independently or by soliciting clients in public spaces, although how each type of sex work is legislated varies considerably between each state and territory.

The structure of the industry is therefore often subject to the legislation of the jurisdiction in which it operates.

The criminalisation or licensing system imposed on sex industry businesses and the independent provision of sexual services create a separate category of the illegal or unlicensed sector. The proportion working as street-based sex workers or sex workers providing escort services is largely unknown, but has been estimated to be five percent and less than 10 percent, respectively, of all sex workers in New South Wales Donovan et al.

These proportions may not be observed in other jurisdictions due to the different legal frameworks around private and brothel work. For example, key informants involved in a large-scale research project on the industry in Perth suggested that there were about brothel-based sex workers, 50 private sex workers and 50 sex workers providing escort services in Perth in any one year Donovan et al.

One of the few studies that looked at the number of sex industry clients in Australia, the Australian Study of Health and Relationships Rissel et al. Current legislation on sex work in Australia varies by state and territory see Table 1 as a result of major reforms that occurred in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory in the s and s.

These reforms led to the decriminalisation, legalisation and implementation of licensing schemes for commercial sex work, reflecting a variety of factors including: Therefore, there are currently three general approaches that are used to regulate the industry across Australia: Victoria and Queensland have legalised sex work within brothels and implemented a licensing system to regulate the brothel industry.

New South Wales has decriminalised all forms of sex work, with the regulations for brothels placed with the local planning and development authorities; however, living off the earnings of the prostitution of another person with the exemption of brothel employers and employees is illegal Summary Offences Act , s New South Wales is the only jurisdiction that has legalised the soliciting of sex services which affects the legality of street-based sex work ; however, it is required to operate away from dwellings, schools, churches and hospitals.

The Australian Capital Territory has legalised brothels but only in two prescribed industrial suburbs. Brothels, escorts agencies and sole operators and private workers must register their business.

Brothel workers are not required to register. The exchange of money for sexual services between adults on its own is not illegal in any jurisdiction with the exception of Western Australia, where it is an offence to act as a sex worker if convicted of a drug-trafficking or Schedule 1 offence Donovan et al. However, some or almost all forms of sex work are criminalised in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia. The policy was officially abandoned in ; however, according to Donovan et al.

Soliciting is illegal in certain areas near or within view of a dwelling, school, church or hospital Summary Offences Act , ss 19, 19A. Legal to run a brothel with appropriate planning permission. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel without planning permissionb Restricted Premises Act , s 7 1. Brothels must be licensed and working within the licence conditions to operate legally Sex Work Act , s 22 1. It is a crime to live partially or wholly off the earnings of sex work unless working for legal premises ie licensed, or exempt from requiring a licence but registered Sex Work Act , s Brothels must be licensed and in accordance with planning laws Prostitution Act , s It is unlawful to work as a sex worker in premises other than a licensed brothel or contrary to brothel licence, unless exempt from needing a licence see private work below Criminal Code , s C.

Also illegal to live partially or wholly off the earnings that the person knows are the earnings of prostitution Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3. It is a crime to manage or keep a brothel, or to receive payment in a brothel for sex work Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to live partially or wholly off the earnings of the prostitution of another person Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to run a brothel.

Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in a brothel Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4. Legal to run a brothel, but must be registered and based in prescribed locations.

Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel that is not registered or outside the prescribed locations of Mitchell and Fyshwick Prostitution Act , s 18 1 ; Prostitution Act Regulation , s 1 4 ; see also Prostitution Act , s 12 1. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel Prostitution Regulation Act , s 4.

Clients of a social escort service must be informed that the service does not include prostitution Prostitution Act , s 96B. In addition, escort services cannot be advertised as including sexual services Prostitution Act , s 96A. Not illegal to conduct an escort service but illegal to live off the earnings. See Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above. Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to run an escort agency.

Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4. Legal to run an escort agency, but must be registered. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unregistered escort agency Prostitution Act , s 12 1. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unlicensed escort agency.

Small business operators two people working separately or jointly and solo workers are exempt from requiring a licence to operate legally but still need to register their service. Small business operators also need a planning permit for their premises if they are providing services there Sex Work Act , ss 23, Nothing in the Act specifically about private workers but see Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above.

Up to two sex workers can work together but cannot manage or employ each other Sex Industry Offences Act , s 3 1. Local councils approve business applications see Restricted Premises Act , s 17 1 above. Business Licensing Authority grants licences for brothels and escort services and maintains the register of private workers. The Office of Regulatory Services is responsible for registering brothels, escort agencies and sole operators. Director-General of Licensing formerly the Northern Territory Licensing Commission grants licences to escort agencies.

All staff of escort agencies must be registered with NT Police and receive a certificate from the Police Commissioner. At the time of writing, the Prostitution Bill WA , which proposes major amendments to the Prostitution Act , including the legalisation of prostitution under a licensing system, was before the WA Legislative Assembly. This table outlines the content of legislation in each state and territory regarding sex work but does not include sex work provisions within common law.

Sex workers can also be encouraged to sign contract agreements verifying this relationship Murray However, it has been argued that the level of control managers have over when sex workers work and the services they provide more closely resembles the work arrangements held in common law to be those of employer and employee Murray This includes fines for being late to work, not being allowed to sell sex services independently outside the workplace and control over the nature of the services sex workers provide, the amount they can charge and how long they work Murray ; Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council This leaves sex workers without the freedoms associated with being an independent contractor, yet without the benefits of being an employee Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee This is a situation where an employment relationship is disguised as one of client and independent contractor with negative consequences for the employee ABCC Much of the existing knowledge of sex workers has relied on input from peer and outreach workers, sexual health workers and sex workers themselves.

Convenience or snowball sampling, where participants are recruited in a non-random manner using existing knowledge or social networks, is the main methodology used in the research and surveys referenced in this section. This dearth of population-based studies on sex workers internationally and within Australia is primarily a result of restricted access to sex workers for research and survey purposes due to:.

The majority of sex workers are female Donovan et al. Those who identify as transgender and male sex workers are difficult to access for research as they are more likely to initiate contact with clients electronically eg by phone and online and work as private escorts rather than in a brothel-based environment Donovan et al. Research suggests that the majority of sex workers are aged between 20 and 39 years Donovan et al. This increase in age appeared to be driven by an increase in the age of migrant sex workers, who made up a sizeable proportion of the sex worker population in Sydney.

Age distribution has also been shown to vary by sector. Only seven percent of private workers were aged 18—24 years compared with more than one-quarter of street-based and brothel workers Woodward et al.

Although the results may not be representative, these findings have been replicated in studies from other states and territories. The total number of sex workers working in Australia has been estimated to be 20, in any one year Quadara ; however the proportion of workers born outside Australia remains largely unknown.

Data from the SSHC suggested that the proportion of Asian migrant sex workers ie those born in Asian countries in Sydney accessing their Chinese and Thai-language clinics increased from 20 percent to more than half from to Donovan et al. This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Escort agency article. This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject. Put new text under old text. Click here to start a new topic. Ask questions, get answers.

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But now, she says, there are fewer clients on the streets. The signs are that the sex industry in clean, green Singapore — where prostitution is legal — is as vibrant as ever. Soliciting prostitution in public places is also illegal in the Lion City. Freelancers like Jaafar solicit on the streets, advertise their services online, and work under the cover of escort agencies.

She weighs 45kg, is 1. Ho says the sums prostitutes charge for sex services in Singapore vary widely, depending on where the woman plies her trade. But even as an independent worker, a good amount of my earnings is spent on advertising. Although Singapore does not stick too closely to the letter of the law, there are crackdowns.

Last year, Quek Choon Leong, 34, was jailed for 33 months for running a vice ring of 32 prostitutes, supported by his wife and 10 other staff. In another indication of how the government is trying to keep a lid on illegal activity, the Ministry of Home Affairs said last month it had recorded a 40 per cent rise in the number of unlicensed massage parlours in Singapore between and These establishments, the ministry said, are often a front for vice activities.

The bill just has had its first reading. In an attempt to regulate the sex trade, Singapore allows licensed brothels to operate in designated areas. The licensing process, controlled by the police, is murky and the number of establishments is not made public. Women working these brothels are also required to hold a licence, issued by police. They are given a yellow card bearing their name and photo, and results of the regular check-ups they are required to have, for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The licensing of brothels is controversial because they operate in so-called designated red-light areas, where the law against pimping is not enforced, critics say.

Another place in Asia where prostitution is legal is Hong Kong, which also forbids soliciting, causing or helping another person to be a prostitute, and living off the earnings of a prostitute. However, there are no licensed brothels in Hong Kong, nor designated red-light areas. Wan Chai, on Hong Kong Island, has long been the unofficial red-light district, with bars and discos popular among Western clients, while Mong Kok in Kowloon is known more among locals for its illegal brothels and streetwalkers.

In , Hong Kong accounting sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong suggested the government establish a legal red-light district to consolidate and confine the sex industry. Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu rejected the suggestion, saying prostitution in the city was already under control. He said setting up an official red light district would mean require big changes in government policy on the issue.

Unlike Singapore, Hong Kong does not outlaw classified ads for prostitution or websites that allow clients to make appointments. Despite the existence of licensed brothels in Singapore, many women still end up working illegally, including in an unknown number of unlicensed brothels. Some have even been found operating in public housing estates, The Straits Times reported last month. There is clearly a demand for prostitutes in Singapore, Ho says, and women keep coming to the city from nearby countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

Project X says there are many informal sex workers who work only occasionally, making it difficult to estimate the number. Two years ago, police arrested more than 5, unlicensed sex workers — mostly foreign women visiting on tourist visas. Lainez says many are poorly educated with low-paying jobs back home. They came to Singapore for sex work to earn a higher income. Singaporean Jaafar falls into the same category.

Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in a brothel Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4. Legal to run a brothel, but must be registered and based in prescribed locations. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel that is not registered or outside the prescribed locations of Mitchell and Fyshwick Prostitution Act , s 18 1 ; Prostitution Act Regulation , s 1 4 ; see also Prostitution Act , s 12 1. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in a brothel Prostitution Regulation Act , s 4.

Clients of a social escort service must be informed that the service does not include prostitution Prostitution Act , s 96B. In addition, escort services cannot be advertised as including sexual services Prostitution Act , s 96A.

Not illegal to conduct an escort service but illegal to live off the earnings. See Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above.

Act does not state that it is illegal to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Summary Offences Act , s Illegal to run an escort agency. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an escort agency Sex Industry Offences Act , s 4. Legal to run an escort agency, but must be registered. Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unregistered escort agency Prostitution Act , s 12 1.

Act does not state that it is a crime to work as a sex worker in an unlicensed escort agency. Small business operators two people working separately or jointly and solo workers are exempt from requiring a licence to operate legally but still need to register their service. Small business operators also need a planning permit for their premises if they are providing services there Sex Work Act , ss 23, Nothing in the Act specifically about private workers but see Criminal Code Act Compilation , s 3 above.

Up to two sex workers can work together but cannot manage or employ each other Sex Industry Offences Act , s 3 1. Local councils approve business applications see Restricted Premises Act , s 17 1 above. Business Licensing Authority grants licences for brothels and escort services and maintains the register of private workers.

The Office of Regulatory Services is responsible for registering brothels, escort agencies and sole operators. Director-General of Licensing formerly the Northern Territory Licensing Commission grants licences to escort agencies.

All staff of escort agencies must be registered with NT Police and receive a certificate from the Police Commissioner. At the time of writing, the Prostitution Bill WA , which proposes major amendments to the Prostitution Act , including the legalisation of prostitution under a licensing system, was before the WA Legislative Assembly. This table outlines the content of legislation in each state and territory regarding sex work but does not include sex work provisions within common law.

Sex workers can also be encouraged to sign contract agreements verifying this relationship Murray However, it has been argued that the level of control managers have over when sex workers work and the services they provide more closely resembles the work arrangements held in common law to be those of employer and employee Murray This includes fines for being late to work, not being allowed to sell sex services independently outside the workplace and control over the nature of the services sex workers provide, the amount they can charge and how long they work Murray ; Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council This leaves sex workers without the freedoms associated with being an independent contractor, yet without the benefits of being an employee Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee This is a situation where an employment relationship is disguised as one of client and independent contractor with negative consequences for the employee ABCC Much of the existing knowledge of sex workers has relied on input from peer and outreach workers, sexual health workers and sex workers themselves.

Convenience or snowball sampling, where participants are recruited in a non-random manner using existing knowledge or social networks, is the main methodology used in the research and surveys referenced in this section.

This dearth of population-based studies on sex workers internationally and within Australia is primarily a result of restricted access to sex workers for research and survey purposes due to:. The majority of sex workers are female Donovan et al. Those who identify as transgender and male sex workers are difficult to access for research as they are more likely to initiate contact with clients electronically eg by phone and online and work as private escorts rather than in a brothel-based environment Donovan et al.

Research suggests that the majority of sex workers are aged between 20 and 39 years Donovan et al. This increase in age appeared to be driven by an increase in the age of migrant sex workers, who made up a sizeable proportion of the sex worker population in Sydney.

Age distribution has also been shown to vary by sector. Only seven percent of private workers were aged 18—24 years compared with more than one-quarter of street-based and brothel workers Woodward et al. Although the results may not be representative, these findings have been replicated in studies from other states and territories. The total number of sex workers working in Australia has been estimated to be 20, in any one year Quadara ; however the proportion of workers born outside Australia remains largely unknown.

Data from the SSHC suggested that the proportion of Asian migrant sex workers ie those born in Asian countries in Sydney accessing their Chinese and Thai-language clinics increased from 20 percent to more than half from to Donovan et al.

This increase in sex workers accessing Sydney sexual health clinics was attributed to both an increase in migrant sex workers from Asia and a decrease in Australian-born sex workers Donovan et al. It is possible that these data are biased towards Asian sex workers due to the Asian-language clinics the SSHC runs; however, the LASH research conducted in Sydney brothels in found a similar proportion of migrant sex workers from China and Thailand.

SSHC data from showed that the proportions of Thai and Chinese-born sex workers had nearly reached equivalence Data from the SSHC also showed a sharp increase in the representation of South Korean women from ; by they had increased their representation to close to that of Chinese and Thai women Donovan et al. The migrant status of sex workers in other parts of Australia varied from that found for Sydney-based sex workers. These results were said to reflect those observed for licensed brothel workers in Melbourne Donovan et al.

At first glance, it appears that migrant sex workers are more common in some states and territories than others, and that the cultural background of this population also varies by jurisdiction. However, it is difficult to ascertain whether these proportions are representative of the true migrant population at the survey sites or the ease or lack thereof of access to this population for research. A questionnaire delivered to Asian female sex workers who attended the SSHC collected similar educational measures of sex workers born in China and Thailand Pell et al.

Brothel-based and private workers generally had low rates of drug use, high rates of condom use and very low rates of sexually transmitted infections or STIs Harcourt et al. Sydney brothel workers had levels of mental health that were comparable with the general population Donovan et al. Perth-based respondents to the LASH survey reported percent condom use and experienced STIs at a rate similar to that recorded for the general population Donovan et al.

Categorising sex workers by the sector in which they work for research purposes can be problematic due to the extent sex workers may work in a variety of sectors simultaneously. Although limited in number, the research surveys reviewed in this report examine the issue of violence perpetrated by clients in the workplace. Eight percent of respondents to the LASH survey reported having experienced physical assault by clients Donovan et al.

It must be noted that none of these surveys used a representative sample; therefore the proportions may not be generalisable to the entire sex worker population. It is also problematic to compare the findings of these surveys as each one differed in their sampling frameworks respondents were sampled from different states with different legal frameworks for the sex industry , sampling approaches, sample sizes and categories for the violence reported by respondents.

The legal frameworks governing the sex industry play an important role in the health and safety of sex workers. The need for legislation, police and regulatory practices to support rather than impede health promotion extends to broader issues of workplace safety regarding violence, abuse and harassment.

There is the risk that sex workers working outside the legal framework face greater barriers to reporting incidents of violence or abuse, or implementing safety strategies. However, as Quadara There were several factors that were significantly associated with the prevalence of STIs among sex workers attending the SSHC between and These included being of a younger age, being of Asian origin and using condoms inconsistently at work Donovan et al.

This result is, in part, due to the lower initial rates of condom use among Asian sex workers during the s. As consistent condom use in the workplace increased among Asian workers from 77 percent in to 95 percent in Donovan et al. The level of victimisation from assault at work among migrant sex workers is largely unknown.

A small-scale survey of Chinese-born sex workers in Australia showed that 44 percent of the 43 participants had experienced sexual assault in the workplace Jeffreys In addition to the issues affecting all sex workers with regard to reporting sexual assault and violent situations that occur while working ie the stigma associated with sex work, and the illegality of some forms of sex work in some states and territories , there are further barriers for women with diverse cultural and language backgrounds, particularly non-English-speaking backgrounds.

For women from CALD backgrounds experiencing violence, barriers to accessing support include:. These barriers for sex workers, and for CALD women generally, may intersect to prevent migrant sex workers from reporting sexual assault and abuse experienced within the workplace. Migrant sex workers working illegally in the sex industry may also have a legitimate fear of deportation or other repercussions from the authorities, which may act as a further disincentive to report these crimes or access other formal support networks.

As noted above, all surveys conducted on sex workers in Australia have included those born in countries other than Australia. However, with the exception of the SSHC surveys, there is little quantitative information specifically on temporary or permanent migrant sex workers in Australia and their experiences.

Similarly, little is known about if and how their workplace experiences differ from those of their Australian-born counterparts.

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