Clients and the Law


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.


You’re a client of a sex worker if you pay them for sexual services, ranging from happy ending massages to full sex.

The following table outlines what is legal and what is not legal for clients.

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).

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.

Clients of Sex Workers – What’s Legal?

WHAT YOU CAN DO   

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

You can see a sex worker aged 18 years or older

 

 

 

 

You can’t pay anyone under 18 for sexual services

10 years’ jail

ss 5-6 of SWA

 

You can’t pay anyone under 18 for sexual services by offering them drugs

15 years’ jail

s7 of SWA

 

You can’t live on the earnings of a sex worker

5 years’ jail

s10 of SWA

 

You can’t talk in public to a street-based sex worker about prices or services

9 months’ jail or $9,671 fine

s12(2) of SWA

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

 

You can’t enter, be in or leave an unlicensed (illegal) brothel*

6 months’ jail or $9,671 fine

s15 of SWA

 

You can’t talk to a sex worker about prices and services in a church (or other place of worship), hospital or school

9 months’ jail or $14,507 fine

S12(1) of SWA

 

You can’t be indecent, offensive or insulting towards a street-based sex worker in public

3 months’ jail or $4,835 fine

s16 of SWA

 

You must not enter an area you have been banned from under a banning notice

$3,223 fine

s21G of SWA

 

You must comply with a police officer who is giving you a banning notice

$805 fine

s21E of SWA

WHAT YOU CAN DO 

   

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

Ask for the name, rank and place of duty of a police officer who is issuing you with a banning notice

 

 

s21E(4) of SWA

 

If you’re in a declared area with a banning notice in place, you must comply with the police

$3,223 fine

s21G of SWA

 

You cannot behave in an offensive way in a car in a Declared Area (usually in St Kilda)

$805 fine

s18 of SOA

 

You can’t have penetrative sex or blow jobs without using condoms

$3,221 fine

s18A of SWA

See more than one sex worker in the same booking

 

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

See a sex worker with a friend or your partner

     

Request a longer booking or an overnight stay

     

Pay a sex worker for things other than sex, such as dinner

     

Invite a sex worker to see you at your house or hotel/motel

     

See a sex worker if you have an STI (as long as you use condoms)

     

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

MAXIMUM PENALTY 

LAW 

See a sex worker if you are HIV positive (as long as you use condoms)

     

 

* for an up to date list of the licensed LEGAL brothels in Victoria, please see the RhED website brothel listing.

STI = sexually transmissible infection

SWA = Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic)

SWR = Sex Work Regulations 2016 (Vic)

Fines updated annually on 1 July

 

Last updated: 2 March 2019