Australian Sex Industry Laws

Australian Sex Industry Laws

Australian Sex Industry Laws are determined by State and Territory Governments. Federal laws criminalize ‘trafficking’ with or without consent and ‘sex slavery’ regardless of sex workers’ consent to such work conditions.


Advertising in Victoria

On 22 February 2022 the Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 was passed by Victorian Parliament. The new laws recognise that sex work is legitimate work and should be regulated through standard business laws, like all other industries in the state.

Advertising brothels is allowed. 

Advertising escort agencies is allowed. 

Advertising massage parlors is allowed 

Brothel Work in Victoria

A brothel is defined as any premises made available for the purpose of sex work services at those premises. (Sex Work Act 1994) If you work in a licensed brothel- the brothel itself registers under the licensing system (i.e. as an individual sex worker working in a licensed brothel. You do not need to register with BLA and obtain an SWA number to comply with the laws. As the brothel itself registers with a license in that case.

XE denotes “Exempt Escort” in a registration number BE denotes Licensed Brothel in a registration number. If you wish to work independently registering as a small owner operator exempt brothel is required under the laws in Victoria. 

Licensed (Commercial) Brothels in Victoria

Brothels are regulated by local council planning. This means the place you work from has requirements outlined in the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and requires a planning permit issued by the Council for it to be a licensed brothel. Councils primarily monitor compliance with planning requirements. Currently brothels are limited to 6 rooms (Sex Work Act 1994). Some older brothels, established before June 1995, are larger.

You have the right to refuse to see a client if you think the situation is unsafe or you think the client may be violent. You can’t be fined or punished in any way for refusing a client according to the law under Sex Work Regulations 2006.  The Public Health and Wellbeing Act (2008) states. That sex workers must be provided with a free supply of condoms and lubricants at no charge in a brothel.  

Escort Agencies in Victoria

Escort Agency means a business of facilitating or providing sexual services to persons at premises not made available by the agency. You get your bookings from the agency, usually by phone. If you work for an escort agency you might only visit the agency office once a week. so, to hand over the agency’s share of your weekly takings.

When a client contacts the agency, the receptionist must describe you accurately. So that expectations of you are in line with who you are. However, it’s up to you not the agency or receptionist to negotiate with the client. For the sexual services you will be providing.   

The licensee must make sure you are supplied with a one way or two-way electronic device. Such as a mobile phone, radio intercom or a buzzer. So you can contact the licensee or approved manager at any time while you are working (Sex Work Regulations 2006. 

You have the right to refuse a booking if you think the situation is unsafe or the client may be violent. The agency should not force you to do the booking or fine or punish you for not doing a booking.

Private Escorts in Victoria

Victorian legislation stipulates various requirements for individuals to work alone and be in compliance with the regulations. A small owner-operator escort service is referred to as a Small Owner-Operated (Exempt) Brothel in legislation. 

This means that private workers- working by themselves or with up to one other worker. Do not need to register to obtain a brothel license. You do however, need to register as an exempt brothel. And obtain an SWA number in order to comply with the law in Victoria. If you are working with another sex worker they need to register as well to comply with the law.

Street Work in Victoria

Street sex work is criminalized and is heavily actively policed. There are police in marked police cars as well as undercover police posing as both sex workers and clients. There have been broad ongoing discussions about the decriminalization. Towards street-based sex work for decades but no action from government.  

Street Based Sex Workers have been charged under Section 13 of the Sex Work Act 1994. Which states that a person must not for the purpose of sex work solicit. Or accost any person or loiter in a public place.


Advertising in Queensland

There are rules for how prostitution can be advertised in Queensland.

Ads published in Queensland must meet Queensland guidelines, even if the ad is placed from outside Queensland or published on a website located outside Queensland.

Under the Act, advertisements cannot be published if they:

  • describe the sexual services offered,
  • might induce a person to seek employment as a sex worker,
  • state, directly or indirectly, that the person’s business provides or is connected with massage services.

The most acceptable form of advertising is in the newspaper (TV, radio and video are specifically not allowed), and there is an ‘approved form’ of advertising which all newspapers are aware of. This is affected by the changes made which came into effect 6th August 2019.

Advertising for Adult jobs is allowed in Newspapers. But it’s complicated as not allowed on TV and Radio. 

Advertising brothels is allowed with channel restrictions as to where it can be advertised. Preferably on an adult entertainment website. 

Advertising escort agencies is allowed with channel restrictions as to where it can be advertised. Preferably on an adult entertainment website.