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The extent of Perth's underground sex industry has been revealed, with a comprehensive survey uncovering scores of illegal prostitution businesses operating out of houses and apartments in more than 20 suburbs. The policy was started in the s but was officially dropped early this decade. Industry insiders say State MPs have tiptoed around the issue of prostitution for the past 20 years and while numerous ministers have pledged to tackle it, all have failed. The Town of Victoria Park claimed yesterday it was all but powerless to prevent private sex workers from operating in its boundaries and argued the State Government's decision to repeal Labor's prostitution laws would make its job even more difficult.
Attorney-General Christian Porter is working towards delivering the Government's election promise to ban prostitution outside designated zones, overturning Labor's legislation to regulate 38 existing brothels. Prostitution is legal in WA but living off its earnings is illegal. Of more than private sex workers contacted this week, most said they were operating in the eastern suburbs.
While most offered their services from private apartments or houses, some were operating from motels. Young Asian women were an overwhelming majority of the sex workers with some "facilitators" offering a range of Asian women from a single address.
At the top end, phone calls to women advertised on a premium escort service website revealed many were operating in East Perth, Northbridge and Burswood. Beverly Clarke, owner of the Langtrees brothels in Perth and Kalgoorlie, said a former Langtrees employee was running the website, using apartments she owned across Perth as makeshift brothels. Ms Clarke said so-called "Asian houses" were opening at an alarming rate. In some cases, girls were living in the ceilings of houses and were crammed together.
Some were carrying out unsafe practices and offering unsafe sex. Scarlet Alliance chief executive Janelle Fawkes, who worked in the sex industry in WA for 13 years, said she did not believe illegal brothels were on the rise but people were becoming more aware of their existence, particularly in the eastern suburbs. All rights reserved. Close navigation menu Subscribe Log In. Search Search. Login Premium Subscribe.