Sex worker says prostitution laws too tough in Qld

A ROCKHAMPTON sex worker has spoken out against "very strict" prostitution laws after a statewide police sting.

Two local working girls fronted Rockhampton Magistrates Court this week - one under investigation by immigration officers - after police arrested them in Rockhampton.

A local sex worker, known only as Emily, said prostitution laws in Queensland were much harsher than in other Australian states.

"The laws are very strict in Queensland. I think they're a bit over the top," she said.

Emily said the laws also threatened the safety of girls who were prevented from teaming up with other sex workers.

She said the industry would be safer if girls were allowed to work in pairs.

"In NSW and Victoria, you can have two girls in one room," she said. "I think you should be able to have two girls in one room for safety."

Under a series of laws in the Prostitution Act 1999, sex workers may only enlist the services of a registered bodyguard and a driver. They are not permitted to have a receptionist book their service or handle payments.

Detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins from State Crime Operations Command said enforcing these laws helped prevent the exploitation of sex workers.

"Illegal prostitution can be a very profitable business for criminals, however it also encourages these networks to target and exploit sex workers," he said.

Det Williams said the recent Prostitution Enforcement Task Force operation resulted in six women and one man being charged with 12 prostitution offences.

He said the operation, named Operation Kilo Kayak, focused on the Queensland regions of Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton and the arrests had sent a message to those who participated in illegal prostitution activities.

"This operation is another example of investigators identifying and prosecuting those who profit from illegal activities," Det Williams said.

But according to Emily, relaxing the laws to allow working girls to team up also had advantages over and above personal safety.

"You should be able to have two girls in one room, I mean, everyone likes that," she said.

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