Legalising prostitution in Queensland has been a massive failure with the State’s watchdog admitting that most prostitution continues to occur illegally.

In its 2015-16 report, the Prostitution Licensing Authority acknowledged that the 1999 Prostitution Act, billed as the answer to curtailing uncontrolled prostitution run by criminal gangs and pimps, has failed.

“As it is, most prostitution in the state occurs outside of licensed brothels” it says in the Annual Report (p.16).

Australian Christian Lobby Queensland Director Wendy Francis said this was supported by research from the University of Queensland’s Human Trafficking Working Group, which found that after 10 years of brothel licensing in Queensland, most of the state’s prostitution industry remained unregulated and illegal.

Comments reported today from Denise Rogers, owner of a Gold Coast brothel, that there is a proliferation of illegal operators reinforced the fact that the Queensland Government has lost control of prostitution since legalising it 16 years ago.

“The fact that legal brothels represent such a small part of the prostitution industry in Queensland makes a mockery of the point the point in the annual report that there is no trafficking in ‘legal’ brothels,” Ms Francis said.

 “All this means is that there are absolutely no protections provided for trafficked women and girls in illegal prostitution – which the Authority acknowledges is where most prostitution occurs.

 “When the Prostitution Act was introduced we were told legal brothels would solve the problem of illegal operators and make it safe,” she said.

“Clearly this has failed with a proliferation of illegal brothels since the law changed. Instead of reducing harm, this policy has multiplied it.

“This report provides further evidence  that wherever prostitution has been legalised, the illegal trade flourishes.  

 “The Annual Report fails to report on the criminal elements and sex trafficking that continues to pervade prostitution in the State.

“The Queensland Government would be doing a great disservice to Queenslanders and to trafficked women being exploited if they do not take stock of the failures of the Prostitution Act,” she said.

“The Queensland Government needs to adopt the world’s best practice by adopting the Nordic Approach to prostitution, which targets the people that are profiting through the exploitation of women.”