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Sex industry support staff

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Support staff in sex services premises

It is legal to work in a support role in a sex services premises, if the other business regulations and laws are met. You need to be over 18 and hold a valid work visa if you are not an Australian resident.

Working as a minder for a street-based sex worker

Minders for street-based sex workers can be charged with an offence if they are living off the earnings of a street-based sex worker.  This law was designed to allow police to charge people who ‘stand over’ and take money from sex workers without consent, but it can be used to charge friends, lovers and minders of street-based sex workers. This law is rarely used. (More information about street-based sex work here).

Security staff have to be licensed

Security staff—guards, bodyguards and bouncers—need to be licensed and their employers need to be approved security industry organisations.  

Receptionists and visits from government departments

As a receptionist, if someone from a government department visits:

  • stay calm
  • remember that you have rights (further details here)
  • ask to see the person’s ID
  • ask for the person’s business card
  • ask to see a warrant authorising the visit if necessary
  • check the ID and warrant details and
  • refuse entry to someone if you do not believe they have authority to enter the premises or if they lack adequate ID.

If a dispute arises:

  • ask to speak to the person’s supervisor by phone to confirm their authority or
  • request that the person visit on another day and time, arranged by agreement.

If the business owner is not present, contact them and tell them that the government officer wants to enter the premises. If you or the owner allows the person to enter, sex workers and other staff do not have to provide information—they may have individual rights and responsibilities depending on which government department.

More information about rights, responsibilities and government departments here.

If the government officer wishes to speak to individual sex workers and they have the powers to do so, then those sex workers may choose where and with whom they speak. For example, a sex worker who agrees to speak with Taxation or Immigration officers must:

  • be able to speak to the officers in private
  • have two government officers present and
  • be able to dress appropriately prior to the interview.