All-Asian brothels with no trafficking, Queensland

Not much comment needed. An impromptu government inspection in Queensland, Australia, found no problems with brothels employing sex workers of a single ethnicity/regional group or type: exactly what people are most afraid will attract traffickers and cause most exploitation of prostitutes.

Asian brothels cleared of sex trafficking

Christine Kellett, 16 November 2009

Queensland’s sex industry regulator says it has found no evidence of of illegal sex trafficking in any of the state’s 25 licensed brothels, despite a fourfold increase in the number of Asian-only bordellos. In its annual report to State Parliament, the Prostitution Licensing Authority, which is responsible for issuing brothel licenses and ensuring compliance in Queensland, noted a “marked” jump in brothels offering the services of Asian sex workers, with three new speciality Asian establishments opening in just the last 12 months. As a result, the PLA joined with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Queensland Police’s Prostitution Enforcement Taskforce for a snap inspection of one unnamed Asian brothel earlier this year.

“No evidence of sexual servitude or foreign nationals working illegally was revealed,” the report found.

“More generally, compliance officers are always on the lookout for any signs of sexual servitude when conducting audits and inspections of licensed brothels. There has not been a single instance of sexual servitude in a licensed brothel in the nine year history of the authority.”

Legal sex workers enjoyed a generally trouble-free year, according to the PLA’s report, with only 84 “corrective actions” orders issued from 205 compliance checks. None involved a serious breach of the law. And while industries including construction and mining took a hit from the global financial crisis, the world’s oldest profession defied the odds. Two new brothels opened for business in the 2008-2009 financial year and a third is yet to open its doors, while five applications to open new brothels were lodged. . .

. . . Regulation of the industry continues to be tight despite interest from speculators. Figures show 126 separate bids have been made to open brothels in Queensland since regulation began in 2000, with only 25 ever gaining permission. Opposition also remains strong, with 205 Queensland towns being given permission from Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson to refuse development applications for brothels.

Permission to open a brothel in Toowoomba in February attracted public protest, with local church and community leaders taking particular exception to a sausage sizzle and “open day” held by the owner. The establishment, Deviations at Harlaxton, has been trading since September. “The community reaction to the development application for a brothel in Toowoomba demonstrated that prostitution remains a controversial and divisive issue, capable of arousing strong passions from detractors and supporters alike,” Mr Boyce said.

“Whilst community concern is understandable, it has been the experience of the authority that at worst licensed brothels have a negligible impact on community amenity.” He said despite opposition, the PLA was “firmly convinced” that legalised prostitution was the safest way to protect sex workers from coercion, violence and disease. Of 76 complaints lodged with the PLA last year, more than half pertained to advertising and suspected illegal activity.

3 thoughts on “All-Asian brothels with no trafficking, Queensland

  1. Kris

    I don’t believe what I read. It seems that the sex industry is perfect, no labour violations, no coercion, no deception, no violence, high job-satisfaction. The perfect place for people to work.

    It is just too good to be true.

    I must admit that I know nothing of the situation in Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps these countries are paradises for prostitutes. The question remains, what makes the situation so much better there compared to the Netherlands?

    Actually there are lots of Asian (Thai) prostitutes in the Netherlands too, working in Asian-only brothels. The Red Thread visited those brothels and they were not happy with what they saw. The women were not kidnapped or something, but the situation leaves a lot to be desired.

    (this is my fourth day free of porn)

  2. Cheryl Overs

    Interesting that you can’t imagine problem free sex work. Why not ? It’s not so much paradise for sex workers here so as its like any other business (in some places, not all).

    A range of factors determine how the sex industry works and how sex workers are treated. One of them is the law of course. Others are enforcement, others are government policy, society’s atitudes, gender and race relations etc etc.

    Australia is the size of the USA but with the population of New York. Having hardly anyone here means that there are much fewer problems in general.

    Mind you the British cops have recently proved that there is almost no trafficking in Britain either. In fact its worth remembering that trafficking is a rubbish concept.

  3. Kris

    That is very interesting. I am following prostitution in the Netherlands for years, and it is funny to see that the police inspectors who monitor the brothels hardly ever encounter forced prostitution. Same is true for researchers who along with their surveys visit the brothels and interview the women.

    But when you read the testimonies of people in the field, that is social workers and prostitutes themselves, you often hear totally different stories. Once even ex-prostitute Metje Blaak of the Red Thread complained that eighty percent of the prostitutes were forced by violent pimps.

    I think that the differences of opinion also have to do with how you with define forced prostitution. For instance: Anna Ziverte in the Netherlands once encountered a girl from Latvia who once was lured but a Turkish man to the Netherlands. She fell in love with him in Latvia. He told her he had debts and he hinted that she could work in prostitution in the Netherlands to pay off those debts for him. She thought that was a good idea. After a while she felt lonely in the Netherlands. Her Turkish boyfriend came with the brilliant idea to bring over a female friend of hers from Latvia to the Netherlands to accompany her. But after a while she began to realise that her female friend also worked for her Turkish boyfriend in prostitution. She ended the relationship with her Turkish boyfriend, and then desperately tried to draw her female friend away from the Turkish man. Her female friend was on drugs and didn’t want to finish the relationship.

    If you just read this story you think: HOW TERRIBLE!!!! But if you define ‘voluntary’ as ‘consent’, then nothing is wrong about this situation at all!!!! But then if you look at the whole picture……..

    Five days, it is easier than I thought.


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