Hooker slur outrages visiting mum

AN EMERALD mother of three was shocked when a staff member of a Rockhampton motel suggested she was a prostitute.

Heidi, whose name is withheld to protect her family, visited the city last weekend for a training course and planned to stay at the Top 1 Motel on Gladstone Road, as she normally did when in Rockhampton.

But after she asked to book a room for three nights, Heidi became confused when staff questioned her about her occupation.

She told them she was a nurse and then laughingly inquired if they thought she was a prostitute.

It was the staff member's answer that stunned and outraged her.

The woman nodded yes.

Heidi was disgusted and vented her rage before storming out of the hotel and finding somewhere else to stay.

“I was really angry and I said ‘I'll never give you my money again',” Heidi said, still astonished by the accusation.

“I just had on a pair of jeans and an old T-shirt.

“I had just been with my kids and wasn't wearing any make-up.”

Novita Tjandramulia, an employee at the hotel, said her mother served Heidi.

She said her mother did not speak very good English, and had accidentally responded yes, when Heidi asked if they thought she was a prostitute.

She said as a general rule the hotel did not rent out rooms to prostitutes for fear of legal trouble.

Novita said while they didn't ask every guest to disclose their occupation, they did ask women who were alone and were staying for a longer period.

She said Heidi had been welcome to stay at the hotel but had left because she was angry.

A police spokesman said while it was not an offence for a sole operator sex worker to work from a hotel, it was an offence for two sole operators to work together.

He said in the past there had been investigations into whether hotels providing accommodation to sex workers had been operating illegal brothels, but there was no onus on the operator to ask guests if they were sex workers.

He said individual hotels might have developed internal policies to monitor any prostitutes working out of their establishments.

Heidi said it was completely unacceptable to be asking guests if they worked in the sex industry.

“I can understand they have problems with that, but they can't just go around accusing people of being a prostitute,” Heidi said.

“That's a pretty harsh thing to accuse people of.”

She said when she told the employee she was a nurse she felt that her explanation wasn't good enough.

“I had my nursing ID and everything on me and I thought no, I shouldn't have to produce that.”

She said the hotel needed to find an alternative way of regulating who stayed there and shouldn't be making first impression judgements on their guests.

“I've got pretty thick skin, but that really offended me in a big way,” Heidi said.



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