Legalisation of Prostitution in Queensland

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1.0Introduction1.1 Topic:The topic for this report legalised prostitution in Queensland.

1.2 Issue:This report addresses the issue of legalised prostitution in Queensland in regards to recent changes in law and regulation and an analysis of their effectiveness.

1.3 Thematic Statement:The laws of prostitution have been significantly amended, mostly in the last 20 years, these amendments have had a positive impact on the issue of prostitution, as the amendments are effective and have vastly improved situations for prostitutes, the government and the majority of society.

1.4 Background:Prostitution is one of the oldest professions to still exist modern society, a profession which has continued to exist despite attempts to control and eradicate it through criminal sanctions. Prostitution is an issue which attracts much media and public interest, and has “long vexed criminal justice authorities” ( not just in Queensland but Australia. There have been numerous laws, acts and amendments made by the Queensland government to try to create a balance between the concerns of the public, the concerns of the government and that of the prostitutes themselves.

It has taken decades to create an effective legislation that successfully adheres, to the best of its ability, to create this balance with all these stakeholders taken into account.

2.0 Legislation/ Issues2.1 LegislationToday there exists to legal forms of sex work in Queensland:•Private (sole operators), individual sex workers who work alone•Sex work conducted and under the provision of a legalised and licensed brothelThis was established in July 1 2000 when the Prostitution Act of 1999 was passed in Queensland. Prior to this one piece of legislation there existed many bills with many amendments. Before the Prostitution Act of 1999 Queensland and Australia had an issue which created huge problems in its society. There was a great confusion for both law enforcers and those in the prostitution industry due to their unawareness of the precise legal status of some aspects of prostitution. It seemed that the Queensland government had the responsibility to keep society safe from the dangerous and corruptive world of prostitution but also had to take society’s right for adults to be allowed to be engaged in sexual conduct into account when making legislation. In chronological order is the list of legislation including amendments made throughout the years regarding the issue of prostitution is Queensland.

1899 – Criminal Code•Meaning of a Prostitution (see appendix 1 a )•Made it an offence to:•Procure in prostitution•Knowingly participate in provision of a prostitute•Being found in a residence reasonably suspected of being used for prostitution•Having interest in premises used for prostitution•Permitting young persons to be at a place used for prostitution1931 – Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act•Made it an offence to:•Publicly solicit for the intention of prostitution•To knowingly advertise prostitution•Cause unreasonable annoyance or disruption due to the activities involving prostitutionInitially the Criminal Code and Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act were the two pieces of legislation that regulated prostitution. The Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act contain similar provision to those found in the criminal code.

1971 – Amendment to the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act•The illegal premises of prostitution were being described as massage parlours and as this became more popular an amendment was brought in to make it illegal to use any premises for the use of prostitution or the use of soliciting.

The amendment of the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act was brought shortly in before the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

1989 – The Fitzgerald InquiryThe Fitzgerald Inquiry was undertaken at a time when prostitution was highly illegal. The Fitzgerald Inquiry was headed by Tony Fitzgerald; this inquiry brought the foundations of “Commission of Inquiry into possible illegal activities and associated police misconduct”. The inquiry was sparked by allegations of wide spread police corruption and lead to the investigation of what allowed this “corruption” to flourish. Soon enough a relationship was identified between the police corruption and the criminalisation of prostitution. During the inquiry the prostitution industry operated in a very low key and underground fashion. The workers became more discreet, working from their private residence, though the media continued to remind the police of the existence of illegal prostitution in Queensland. Fitzgerald came to the conclusion “ The depressing facts about prostitution do not necessarily mean that prohibition of it and other sex related activities is the best way of meeting social need. It is safe to assume that prostitution will continue to exist, whether or not it is illegal, so long as people are willing to buy and sell sex”. It was from these findings in his report that the Criminal Justice Commission conducted a review of the laws relating to prostitution, recommending to the Queensland government that prostitution be decriminalised. It was findings unearthed by the inquiry of Fitzgerald that now made the industry ripe to be reviewed, re-established and re-created.

1992 – AmendmentsThese amendments were strongly influenced by the Fitzgerald Inquiry•Amendments to the Criminal Code•Made it an offence to:•Have an interest in a premises used for prostitution•To be seen leaving a premises believed to be used for prostitution•Repealed :•The outdated offence of keeping a “bawdy house”•Amendments to the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act•Made it an offence to :•To solicit in public places for prostitution, now made gender neutral, and inclusive of people working of the behalf of a prostitute•Advertise, now included sole prostitutes•Repealed:•The outdated offence of the use of massage parlours as premises used for prostitution•The outdated offence of needing a warrant to enter a premises suspected of being a premises used for prostitutionDespite these changes, the laws of prostitution seemed to have remained virtually the same, it was clear that the industry of prostitution had changed dramatically and was in desperate need for laws that would not become irrelevant but instead would enforce legislation that was up to speed with the evolved industry. The official inquires made by Fitzgerald and later the Criminal Justice Commission had made visible the world of prostitution and its connection with police corruption and organised crime. To compensate and fix this an act was created, “an act to regulate prostitution in Queensland”. This act was, “The Prostitution Act of 1999”.

1999 - The Prostitution Act•Legalised brothels•Gave the right for any person eligible to hold a licence•Contains the rights of Application for a licence•Outlines where a brothel can be situated in relation to residential areas etc•Outlines the powers of entry to a brothel by a police officer to have a rank no lower than that of an inspector or to have gained special consideration•Amended:•Offence to solicit with the exception to prostitutes in brothels out of the view of the public•Made it an offence:•To own a prohibited brothel•To be seen leaving a prohibited brothel•To provision in the running of a prohibited brothel•Outlined that brothels must:•Not have a total staff number that exceeds 13•Is supervised at all times•Not have a partnership with an unlicensed person•Not have liquor on premises•Display its licence•Not permit infected works to participate in a manner which could affect other people•Not advertise its services for prostitution•Not have persons under the age of 18 on the premises•Ensure that their workers do not engage in sexual activities without the use of prophylactic.

Following this legislation there have been few minor amendments that have only amended very small parts of the legislation, mostly in relation to exact measurements of a brothel away from residential area and also the slight increase in staff numbers in a brother, although leaving it virtually the same as when it was created.

This legislation that was passed on July 1 2000 was an act which created mixed emotions. Emotions of a small victory by those in the prostitution industry, anger and outrage by groups in society, the Christians who stand morally and ethically against prostitution, and anticipation by the government to see whether these laws would create a plateau in the forever long debate of prostitution.

2.2 Rights and ResponsibilitiesThere are numerous parties involved in relation to the issue of legalised prostitution. The government, the prostitutes, society and groups within society are all affected and have opinions on the issue of prostitution.

Parties InvolvedRightsResponsibilitiesThe Government•To create a society that is equal•To enforce laws that do not marginalise or privilege any group of persons•To create laws which are in the best interest to all people•Protect those in society who do not agree with prostitution (for ethical, moral or religious reasons.

•Manage and decrease the spread of infectious diseases•Prevent corruption and organised crime•Raise awareness about prostitution and educate societyThe Prostitutes•To have sexual choice and freedom•To have access to health and safety benefits like any other organisation•To work in suburban areas•Work in a profession free from discrimination•Equal rights despite their profession•Provide a safe service•To protect the community from possible infections or diseases•Seek regular medical check ups•To act with decency•Respect the moral beliefs of othersSociety•To have the choice for adults to free engage in sexual conduct•To feel safe•To be free from the promiscuous and nuisance of the sex industry•To have moral and ethical beliefs that may differ from others•Respect the moral beliefs of others•To not discriminate others based on profession•To not be prejudice of others based on professionReferences1 NRS 0.050 "NRS 0.050 “Population” defined.". Nevada Revised Statues. NRS 0.050. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.

5 a b NRS 244.345 "NRS 244.345 Dancing halls, escort services, entertainment by referral services and gambling games or devices; limitation on licensing of houses of prostitution.". Nevada Revised Statues. NRS 244.345. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.

6 a b c d Albert, Alexa, "Brothel. Mustang Ranch and its Women". Random House 2001. ISBN 0-375-50331-57 Testing of prostitutes; prohibition of certain persons from employment as prostitute (NAC 441A.800(3)(b))8 NRS 041.1397 "NRS 41.1397 Liability of owner or operator of house of prostitution for employment of prostitute tested positive for exposure to human immunodeficiency virus.". Nevada Revised Statues. NRS 041.1397. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.

9 Levitan, Corey (2008-07-07). "Stark Raving Madam". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.