Escort Agency Worker Laws

This page has been fact checked by a community legal servicePlease 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 your local community legal service

Sex Work Law Reform Victoria expressly disclaims any liability to any person of any action taken or not taken in reliance on the contents of this document.

Escort Agency Work (licensed escort agencies)

You are an escort agency worker if you work for a licensed escort agency. Clients contact the agency directly then the agency sends you to the client’s home or hotel. The escort agency takes a ‘cut’ of the money you earn. For a list of licensed escort agencies in Victoria, see RhED’s escort agency listing webpage. RhED is a Melbourne based community health centre providing information to the sex industry.

Key Points

      • You are only allowed to work for licensed escort agencies.
      • You don’t need a SWA number to work for an escort agency.
      • You must use condoms.
      • You cannot work if you have certain sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

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.

Escort Agency Sex Work – What’s Legal?

WHAT YOU CAN DO   

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

PENALTY 

LAW 

 

You can’t work for an unlicensed escort agency, and you should take steps to confirm that the agency is licensed. 

You can check an agency’s license:

-at the business, they are required to display their license

-on their advertisements, they are required to quote their license number of ads

-by asking to see their license

-by paying a fee to the BLA to check the license

     

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

PENALTY 

LAW 

Work in a licensed escort agency even if you don’t have a SWA exemption number. Only business operators are required to be licensed or hold an SWA exemption number. You don’t need need an SWA number to work in a licensed escort agency

       

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

PENALTY 

LAW 

In addition to escort agency work, you can work for licensed brothels or do private work (private work requires a SWA exemption number)

     

s 23 of SWA

   

You must use a condom for full sex, blow jobs or any other activity with a similar risk of acquiring or transmitting STIs. You must take all other reasonable steps to minimise the risk of acquiring or transmitting an STI.

Up to a $3,304 fine

(up to 20 penalty units)

s18A(1) of SWA

s18A(2) of SWA

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

PENALTY 

LAW 

 

You can’t work if you know you have certain STIs, which includes HIV

 

Up to a $3,304 fine

(Up to 20 penalty units)

s20(1) of SWA and r6 of SWR

Escort agencies must be licensed and display their licenses at the business and quote their license on their advertisements

You can also ask to see the license or request the BLA to check the license for a fee. 

     

s60 of SWA and r11 of SWR

ss55(1) and 55(2) of SWA

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    

WHAT YOU CAN’T DO

WHAT YOU MUST DO

PENALTY 

LAW 

 

You can’t see a client under 18 years of age. You may stil be liable even if you did not know they were under 18. 

 

Up to 10 years’ jail

s5(1)  and s5(3) of SWA

 

Generally, you can’t see a client at your home (rented or owned) or at a hotel/motel booked in your name.

Click here for more information on working from home.

 

Up to 5 years’ jail or

Up to a $198,264 fine

(up to 1200 penalty units)

ss 3, 22(1), 22(1A) and 77(1) of SWA, s126(1) of PEA

 

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

Between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020 one penalty unit = $165.22

 

 

We work with a local community legal service in the development of our legal guides. The legal guides are the result of a robust resource development process involving:

  • fact-checking;
  • community consultation;
  • needs assessment;
  • content development;
  • focus testing;
  • peer review

In resource development we involve community to ensure that resources meet the needs identified by sex workers themselves, that the resources are accessible, and we work in partnership with legal professionals to ensure accuracy, which we believe is crucial for community safety.

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