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Updated February 25, Sex workers working as escorts in Victoria feel unsafe under the current 'no in-call' laws that make it illegal for escorts to bring a client to their own space.
Whether that is a hotel room, booked residence or their own home, escorts can be charged with running a brothel. In Victoria, the person paying for the escort's company, usually a man, has to invite the sex worker to his space. Victoria is the only state where escorts can not work out of their place of choice — other than South Australia where sex work is criminalised.
Sex workers who work as escorts and travel to areas where there are no brothels have only one option — going into an unknown space. Mary said the laws around sex work had been set up "as if society needs to be protected from us". Her family in China does not know what she does for work here and she said they would disown her if they did. Coco said she originally tried to find other work but found it hard because she had very little English language skills. Coco said the no in-call laws were tied to the stigma that still surrounded sex work, and she wished the stigma would change.
Linda works throughout Victoria as an escort and said it was time the community was more open-minded. Although sex work is mostly legal in Victoria, with the exception of street-based sex work, which is still illegal, the laws are complicated.
A spokesman for the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs, Marlene Kairouz, said the strict licensing scheme was in place to protect the health and safety of sex workers. Senior Sergeant Ryan said allegations of sexual assault from people who worked in the sex industry were investigated like any other sexual or physical assault report.