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Sex Industry Laws - Queensland

RESPECT Inc are the peer sex worker run organisation in QLD, and organisational members of Scarlet Alliance.
Contact RESPECT Inc- for up to date information and advice specific to working in QLD.

Note changes to advertising regulation which came into effect 6th August 2018

@RespectInc on twitter

Sex Work and the Law- QLD

There are two ways to potentially do sex work legally in Queensland:

Working Privately – Is legal in Queensland, but it is an offence to work in pairs or with the support of another person. There are also a range of strict advertising guidelines- last updates regarding advertising came into force 6th August 2018.

Sex work conducted in a licensed brothel is legal in Queensland.

Any other form of sex work is illegal in Queensland. This includes unlicensed brothels or parlours, street workers, two sex workers sharing one premises (even if the workers both work alone in split shifts), and out-calls provided by a licensed brothel.

How does the law affect private operators in Queensland?

Private sex workers (not working for a brothel or escort agency) are legal (the Prostitution Control Act does not prevent you from conducting a business). Private businesses however are heavily restrictions regarding the way you can operate.

  • A single sex worker must not be found on premises with any other person unless the other person has a current crowd controller’s licence under the Security Providers Act 1993 and is only participating in the provision of prostitution as a bodyguard.
  • Organising a double booking with another worker is illegal, and workers have been busted for it resulting in a criminal record for life stating that they have contravened the Prostitution Control Act (check the entrapment references on this page, police can legally harass you into agreeing to do a double booking then charge you. Link to the "Exception to soliciting offenses--police officers" law).
  • Having a receptionist is illegal
  • The 2009 Amendment Bill meant private sex workers were granted a legal pathway to advise someone of their movements but only if this person is not also a sex worker
  • Paying a driver is illegal (unless the driver has a current crowd controller's license and only drives one sex worker)

How do I advertise in Queensland?

Under the Act, advertisements cannot be published if they:

  • describe the sexual services offered,
  • might induce a person to seek employment as a sex worker,
  • state, directly or indirectly, that the person’s business provides or is connected with massage services.

The most acceptable form of advertising is in the newspaper (TV, radio and video are specifically not allowed), and there is an ‘approved form’ of advertising which all newspapers are aware of. This is affected by the changes made which came into affect 6th August 2019. To find out more on these changes here's an easier to understand checklist Respect Inc has put together or latest guidelines or contact a peer worker in one of RESPECT's offices in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane or Gold Coast

The approved form for advertisements for prostitution is also listed on the PLA website here

Unless approval of the PLA is specifically required under the guidelines, all advertisements are to be self-assessed. Rather than approving advertisements, the main role of the PLA is to provide advice to advertisers and publishers on the application of the guidelines. You can contact the PLA to discuss

Discrimination - what can I do? The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their lawful sexual activity. Lawful sexual activity means a person's status as a lawfully employed sex worker, whether or not self-employed. This means anti-discrimination protection only covers sex workers who are working legally in Queensland. Following a series of legal challenges around discrimination by an accommodation provider, an exemption was made to the Act in 2012 so that it is not unlawful to refuse to supply accommodation to a person (or evict them or treat them unfavourably in connection with the accommodation) if the person is using or intends to use the accommodation for sex work. Hotel/Accommodation Providers can legally discriminate against and evict sex workers from accommodation in QLD.

Entrapment by police Entrapment is legal in Queensland - this means that police can (and do) pose as clients and as sex workers in order to trap sex workers and clients into acting illegally. link to the "Exception to soliciting offences--police officers" law This does not give police the right to have sex with you or receive any sexual service! The legal term for entrapment in Queensland is deceptive practice. If you are approached by someone who says they are a police officer you should request to see their identification - if they refuse then you should assume the person is not a police officer

Criminal Laws Relating to Condom Use in Queensland It is a criminal offence to provide any kind of commercial sex without condom use. Police are using entrapment (deceptive practice link to the "Exception to soliciting offences--police officers" law to harass people about condom use ie the police ring up and pose as a client, and ask for oral without protection. For more detailed information go to the Condom Laws In Queensland page and/or speak to RESPECT Inc- The state based sex worker organisation in Queensland.

The fact that a place is being used for the purposes of sex work "may be inferred from evidence of the condition of the place, material found at the place and other relevant factors and circumstances." Importantly, however, "evidence of condoms and other material for safe sex practices is not admissible against a defendant."

Related Articles & Links

Crime and Misconduct Commission Reports
Inquiry into escort work, October 2006 Sex worker input into this report is high, and recommendations about sex worker safety and privacy are positive.
Evaluation of the sex industry laws, December 2004Unfortunately the sex worker input into the original CMC report was not high, and a pathologisation of sex workers, a fetishised view of entry into the sex industry takes up much of the report, and a focus on retraining makes the report uncritical and not relevant to workplace conditions as a result of the 1999 laws.

Scarlet Alliance Submission to the Crime and Misconduct Commission: Escort Work April 2005

SSPAN Submission to the Crime and Misconduct Commission: Escort Work April 2005

PLA Annual Report for 2001/2002 “Does the Prostitution Act provide an effective antidote which will encourage legality and discourage illegality? The answer to this question is no. The PLA is very conscious of the disadvantages to which licensed brothels are presently subjected and which heavily impact on their present ability to capture a market which is largely serviced by the illegal prostitution industry.” Pg 20

Second Reading Speech Queensland’s current Prostitution Laws were introduced into Parliament by the Hon. T.A. Barton, Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Member for Waterford for the ALP. He proudly proclaims “These laws, if passed, will be the toughest in Australia.” Debate was adjourned by Mr Beanland.

The Hypocrisy of the Queensland Prostitution Act 1999 Lisa Uusimaki Paper presented to the Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, Centre for Social Change Research, Qld University of Technology

Prostitution and the Law in Queensland by the Prostitution Licensing Authority with specific reference to the licensing of brothels.

Prostitution Act 1999 Link to an online copy of the Act.

Prostitution Act 1999 Download a PDF copy of the Act.

updated 10 July 2017