VIC Sex Workers and Licences - Commercial Laws - What to Do?

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Active Member
22 June 2014
Hi all.

This is a long list of questions, so any replies to any of them would be appreciated.

I am considering managing a massage studio. It is currently a totally above board non-sexual studio, but there is a consideration to apply for it to become a "happy ending" studio &/or to possibly provide other sexual services if legally permitted. So I have been reading up on the laws, so that it will all be legit, but I am somewhat perplexed by some of the sex workers laws. I hope some folks here can shed some light on some questions that remain, and give me some specifics to clarify some "grey areas".

It also raised some other questions I am just curious about. Which is basically about "where is the line drawn (between legal & illegal) with some things within the sex industry under commercial law?
Let me also say that I rang Business Licensing Authority (BLA), and they also didn't even know the answer to a couple of these:

1) a) Does a Dominatrix require a sex workers' licence?
(considering a true dom does not offer, nor have sex with her clients, and doesn't even touch them sexually,
and is actually only acting out roles)
b) If the Dom doesn't offer any sexual service, why would she still have to have a sex workers licence?
If it's because "maybe the client will be sexually stimulated", then why is sex phone lines & stripper clubs legal without needing a sex workers' licence?
c) Where is the line drawn? i.e: Is a sex licence required by anyone that "stimulates" another?
If so, is it when its physical and/or emotional stimulation?
d) What happens then if there was no stimulation given by a worker, yet the guy gets aroused anyway?
(How can that possibly be the workers fault then??)
e) Up to what point then is it considered "non-sexual"? Is it up to when a guy gets an erection?
Or actually at the point of no return? Or after, ejaculating?
f) What makes a massage "sexual" and therefore requires worker to have a sex licence?
E.g: Is it "touching within 2cm of the groin, for longer than 2 seconds..."? (As maybe less than that may be considered "accidental", or "not deliberately stimulating"?)

BLA could not confirm specifics about these. And as I have read online stories of police setting up and framing sex workers (that claim they didn't do any sexual act, and I do believe them, as I know cops can be corrupt and have quotas to fulfil) by deliberately tempting them with a lot of money to try and coerce them to do something they don't offer. Then if they refused, the cops have said they did it anyway. (After all the time and money that must go into a "sting", I guess they have to bring in someone "guilty" to show they did their job, right?)

So I am concerned if any of my non-sexual workers fall prey to this, what are the laws?
E.g.; What happens if during a massage a worker massages a little too close to a private area, and it's an undercover cop (a bad one) that then says she actually DID touch him there? As it would be his word against hers. And this would be very hard to prove the worker was innocent.

g.) Is it legal to have an audio/video recording in reception? (CCTV) & in the rooms? (to protect workers)

2) Is a Dungeon legal? What would make it illegal?
Is a licence required to operate one?
What if it's home based?

3) Is it legal to sell "adult toys & paraphernalia" in a massage shop?

4) What happens if a worker knows they are not to offer sexual services, but does anyway (trying to get more money on the sly) and gets busted? Will she be charged? Or the owner? Or Manager? Or all of them?

5) Is it still considered a sexual service if private parts are being shown or touched in a demonstration or lesson? (e.g.: This is Tantra...)

6) I have read repeatedly (roughly) that what constitutes as "prostitution" is exchanging money for sex.
So what is the exact meaning of "sex" in this? Are these examples? Or "grey areas"?
a) if someone offered to exchange their service (e.g: a plumber) in exchange for just TIME with a sex worker, but then they happened to like each other & then had sex, would that be prostitution?
(as people pick up people in bars after only talking for 10 mins all the time, so whats the difference?)
b) Why have I seen ads that say "I will accept gifts and tributes" (presumably in exchange for services).
Is this legal?

7) Whats with the laws on swingers house parties and clubs? They charge a fee, you go in, and can have sex with others, but they don't have brothel licences (most), yet there's no difference.
So in theory one could charge an entry fee to a brothel, then clients can have sex with the workers and say they aren't paying for the sex.

8) Is it true that to get a brothel licence, the premises can only be in an industrial area? But not a business/commercial (shopping area) zone?
If so, I'm wondering, why are some strip clubs and massage parlours (that provide sexual services) allowed in business/commercial (shopping area) zones?

9) Is it legal to operate sexual services from a caravan? (I saw a doco that did in the UK)

Thanks a lot in advance for any info. :)

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
That range of questions is beyond the scope of what we can do here.

Perhaps talk to SWOP and the Scarlet Alliance.

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
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