Why sex workers are quitting brothels
Hundreds of sex workers are illegally operating out of high-rise apartments in Melbourne's CBD.
Prostitutes are operating openly in towers in the city, Docklands and Southbank. They tout for business through an array of online advertising platforms servicing just about every fetish imaginable.
The Australian Adult Entertainment Industry recently wrote to Victoria Police and said it had surveyed the advertisements and found that 899 women were offering sexual services in the CBD.
AAEI spokesman William Albon said they were in clear contravention of the law because they did not have planning permission and were not subject to pandemic control measures.
Mr Albon said he knew of one woman who was controlling sex services running from eight separate apartments. "She's an organised crime figure. She has had no difficulty in procuring women," he said.
Many of the mostly women advertising services had quit brothels that had been forced to close during coronavirus restrictions and were going it alone in the city, resulting in a boom in the illicit trade.
One advertisement on Locanto included naked pictures of a blonde woman who offered fetish services "in a private, discreet apartment in CBD" for $400 per hour.
Another Locanto ad promised threesomes for $380 per hour in Melbourne's CBD and the option to pay extra for sex without a condom.
On Escortify, one woman posted revealing images of herself in her Southbank apartment overlooking city buildings. "I'm located in the CBD and available Monday to Friday," she wrote.
Another Melbourne woman offered a range of sexual "in-call" services from between $700 an hour to $1800 for three hours.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force had "reached out" to the AAEI over the contents of its letter and to talk about any other concerns it may have.
The spokeswoman said the force's focus was on preventing exploitation of workers, whether that be in businesses purportedly offering legal services or in private residences.
"Police from the sex industry co-ordination unit, alongside local police and authorised council officers, continue to address the issue of illegal brothels in the community by acting on intelligence they receive," the spokeswoman said.
"This includes active patrols in areas where suspected illegal brothels are believed to be operating, and pursuing investigations, including in Melbourne's CBD and right across the state."
Anyone with information about illegal brothel activity can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the website www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
Originally published as Why sex workers are quitting brothels