The Law: A Guide for Sex Workers

Sex work laws are different in each Australian state. In Victoria the laws differ according to the type of sex work you do.

You are a private sex worker if you’re self-employed, arrange your own advertising, meet your clients indoors and keep all of the money they pay you. You don’t have a boss and don’t give anyone else a ‘cut’ of your earnings.

for private workers outcall bookings are legal while incall bookings are not (Unsplash: Maru Lombardo)

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 brothels in Victoria, see RhED’s brothel listing webpage. RhED is a Melbourne based community health centre providing information to the sex industry.

it's illegal to work for an unlicensed brothel (Unsplash: Valerie Elash)

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 brothel listing webpage. RhED is a Melbourne based community health centre providing information to the sex industry.

there are 22 licensed escort agencies in Victoria

You are a street-based sex worker if you meet your clients in an outdoor public place. The place you service the client may be indoors or outdoors.

decriminalisation makes street-based sex work legal (Unsplash: Noah Basle)

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.

Last updated: 29 October 2019

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