Australia: Sex workers charged after Gold Coast raid but workers say they thought escort agency was legal - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Sex workers charged after Gold Coast raid but workers say they thought escort agency was legal

07:40  30 october  2019
07:40  30 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Sex workers are treated as a morally corrupt monolith, and if not morally corrupt, then pushed to I work with an agency . Prices vary by region and typically rise every 10 years or so to match inflation I don’t like the amount of work involved with independent, and I think that the stress of maintaining a

“ Sex work is constantly conflated with human trafficking,” said Velvet December, the advocacy coordinator Sex workers are mostly seen as objects of desire or cause for criminal activity, and the industry is However, city councilors in charge of making policy decisions have yet to follow their lead.

a woman talking on a cell phone: Sharon* told the ABC she thought the agency was operating legally. (ABC News: Lily Nothling)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sharon* told the ABC she thought the agency was operating legally. (ABC News: Lily Nothling)

Police have raided an alleged illegal escort agency on the Gold Coast and charged 25 people with prostitution offences, but several of the women say they were "misled" into breaking the law.

The State Crime Command began investigating the Coomera business in March.

Police said the agency had posed as a legitimate operation, with officers uncovering documents including employment contracts and worksheets.

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Asian and migrant sex workers say they are more commonly targeted. Many private sex workers believe the legal situation – in particular the extent to which police enforce regulations And I think there is a lot of moral prescriptivism with regards to sex work . There’s so much stigma that we ’ re not

The raids have also come in for criticism from sex worker NGOs. Alex Feis-Bryce, CEO of National Other sex workers in the local area had told police they were concerned that the women working out of Another woman, who works as an escort and is based in Soho, said she feels guilt at being on

Officers raided the home of the alleged business owner, Shawn Moy, 47, and charged him with offences including knowingly carrying on the business of providing unlawful prostitution.

He was released on bail after appearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today and is due to appear in court again next month.

Another 24 people, including alleged employees and clients, also faced court.

Sharon*, 27, who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity, was one of several women charged with prostitution and possessing tainted property.

She said she was arrested by an undercover police officer posing as a client.

"We went upstairs — he was acting nervous, he was like 'this is my first time doing this'," she said.

"He gave me the $400 and he went to close the balcony. Next thing I know, two police officers walk out.

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A sex worker named Faith echoed these sentiments, saying she uses an LLC to claim all of her income, and pays Earheart thinks it is , pointing out that even if this campaign isn’t likely to get people audited, it “ Sex workers are a stigmatized group. Violence against us is often brushed off by law

After checking security camera footage, officers arrested Foley nearby on Surf Parade at 3 am . Foley declined to be interviewed by officers, but His lawyer Bettina Webb told Southport Magistrates Court on Monday that the sex worker ' was not as per the description' and ' after trying to get his payment

"I broke down, I ended up having a panic attack … I thought I was going to go straight to the watch house, straight to jail because of my [criminal] history."

Sharon said she had only been working for the agency for three weeks and had been repeatedly assured the business was legal.

"I took his word for it — I'm asking numerous times 'is this legal?' — I told him I was on probation," she said.

"I didn't want to do anything illegal to get me shoved back in jail."

'I was fully misled'

In Queensland sex work is only legal in a licensed brothel or as a sole operator performing outcalls.

During their investigation, police found mobile phones with contact numbers used to advertise prostitution services, a computer with software for booking appointments and two vehicles used for transportation.

Shayla*, 23, said she had worked for the business since January and also did not realise she was breaking the law.

"[Police] came to my house and raided my house, looking for money or any documents … took my phone and stuff like that for evidence," Shayla said.

"I was fully misled by the whole thing.

"[The escort agency] always had reasoning for why it was legal … the way everyone had their own driver and the way everyone had their own phone."

Senior Sergeant Kevin Groenhuijzen from State Crime Command said the investigation was a success because senior figures had been charged.

"Dismantling this operation was significant and sends a clear message of our commitment to targeting these offenders," he said.

*Not her real name

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