Brothel Worker Laws

Unsplash: Valerie Elash

Please note Sex Work Law Reform Victoria does not provide legal advice. For more information about sex work laws, please see our legislation page. For legal advice contact St Kilda Legal Service.

Brothel Work (licensed brothels)

You are a brothel worker if you work in a licensed brothel. You meet and provide a sexual service to your clients in the brothel, and the brothel takes a ‘cut’ of the money you earn. For a list of licensed escort agencies in Victoria, see RhED’s brothel listing page.  RhED is a Melbourne based community health centre providing information to the sex industry

Key Points

      • You are only allowed to work for licensed brothels.
      • You don’t need a SWA number to work in a brothel.
      • You must use condoms.
      • You cannot work if you have a sexually transmissible infection (STI).

The following table refers to STIs. An STI is a sexually transmissible infection.

In the ‘Law’ column below, SWA refers to the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic).

The following table refers to the BLA. BLA means Business Licensing Authority, a division of Consumer Affairs Victoria. This table is a summary of the wording of the legislation and should be treated as a guide only. Please refer to the legislation for details.

Brothel Sex Work – What’s Legal?

WHAT YOU CAN DO   

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

Work in a licensed brothel even if you don’t have a SWA number

   

s23 of SWA

 

You can’t work in an unlicensed (illegal) brothel

 

6 months’ jail or $9,913 fine

s15 of SWA

Also work for a licensed escort agency or do private work (private work requires a SWA number)

   

s 23 of SWA

  

Use a condom for full sex and blowjobs

$3,304 fine

s18A(1) of SWA

 

You can’t work if you know you have an STI

 

$3,304 fine

s20(1) of SWA, regs 6(a) – (h) of SWR

 

You can’t work if you know you are HIV positive

 

$3,304 fine

s20(1) of SWA, reg 6(h) of SWR

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

Request the BLA to check whether your managers and owners are licensed

   

s55(2)(b) of SWA

  

To check whether your managers and owners are licensed requires payment of an admin fee to the BLA

 

s55(2)(b) of SWA

  

Provide your name, address and answer questions to a brothel inspector if you leave or enter a suspected unlicensed brothel

$16,522 fine

s61DA of SWA

 

You can’t see a client under 18 years of age

 

10 years’ jail

s5(1) of SWA

 

STI = sexually transmissible infection

BLA = Business Licensing Authority, a division of Consumer Affairs Victoria

SWA = Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic)

SWR = Sex Work Regulations 2016 (Vic)

PEA = Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic)

Fines updated annually on 1 July

 

Last updated: 8 July 2019

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