Anti-Slavery and Sexual Servitude
In late 2009, Council resolved to introduce a local law to act against slavery and sexual servitude.
The law is yet to be enacted as Council deferred its introduction when the State Government announced it was introducing a similar law.
The Anti Slavery and Sexual Servitude Local Law (40.74kB) would require proprietors of brothels in Yarra to display prominent signage in brothel reception areas and in every room where an act of prostitution takes place.
The signage would aim to ensure sex workers know that help is available if they need it, and are aware of who to contact. The signage would need to be clearly visible and appear in English, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, Russian and Thai.
The signage would state:
Slavery and sexual servitude is a serious crime and is illegal in Australia.
If you or someone you know is affected by or involved in sex slavery, you can seek confidential advice or report a crime through the Australian Federal Police.
Tel: 1800 813 784
Fax: (02) 6162 7913
Post: GPO Box 401, Canberra, ACT, 2601.
You can also seek help or report suspected slavery or sexual servitude by contacting the Victoria Police on 000.
Brothel owners who failed to comply with the law would be subject to a $500 on-the-spot fine.
August 2011 Update
Council is concerned that the State Government law doesn't require that translations of the above message be provided in each room in which an act of prostitution takes place.
The State Government law requires that the English version of the sign be displayed in brothel reception areas and in each room in which an act of prostitution takes place, and that the translated versions be available in reception areas.
In mid-2011, Council considered a report from Council officers which recommended that Council revoke its intention to introduce this local law. This was due to the local law being seen as potentially conflicting with the State Government law. Under the Local Government Act, local laws must not conflict with other legislation.
At its August 2011 meeting, Council resolved to petition the Minister for Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General to draft changes to the State Government regulations so that translated signs are required to be placed in every room where a sex act takes place.
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Director - Community Programs