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The law and prostitution in Queensland

Brothels are legal and licensed by the Authority

Prostitution is legal in Queensland if provided in licensed brothels or by sole operator sex workers.

Under the Prostitution Act 1999, the Authority is responsible for supporting existing brothel licensees and managers, and for taking and deciding new applications.

Strict laws control how brothels and sole operator sex workers provide services. If it isn't licensed, it's not a brothel – it's an illegal prostitution venue. Your health and safety may be at risk.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is responsible for investigating unlawful prostitution. The Authority actively communicates stakeholder concerns, intelligence and complaints to the QPS.

The law and sole operator sex workers

The Prostitution Act is mostly about licensed brothels, but some parts apply to all sex workers in Queensland.

Part 6, Division 1 (General offences relating to prostitution) covers:

  • public soliciting
  • nuisances connected with prostitution
  • duress
  • the use of prophylactics.

Part 6, Division 4 covers prostitution advertising offences.

Under Chapter 22A (Prostitution) of the Criminal Code, sole operator sex workers may work privately from a premises and provide outcalls. Sole operator sex workers must work alone, except in limited circumstances permitted under s. 229HA of the Criminal Code.

Sole operator sex workers must not work with another sex worker.

How to establish a brothel in Queensland

Step 1

Apply to the local government authority for development approval for the brothel premises.

The Authority can accept your application for a brothel without development approval but can't issue a licence without an approved brothel premises.

Step 2

Apply for a brothel licence.

The Authority will assess your eligibility to apply for a brothel licence. If you are eligible to apply, it will assess if you are suitable to be granted a licence.

You must not operate a brothel unless you have been given a licence by the Authority.

Step 3

If you are granted a brothel licence by the Authority you must comply with relevant requirements including:

  • the Prostitution Act and Prostitution Regulation
  • brothel licence conditions
  • advertising within the law
  • maintaining standards to create safe and healthy brothels.

The Authority monitors regulatory compliance through activities including audits and inspections of brothel premises.

Advertising prostitution services in Queensland Legal prostitution and non-sexual social escort services may be advertised in Queensland under strict legal guidelines.
Complaints about licensed brothels The Authority handles complaints about licensed brothels in Queensland, including breaches of advertising guidelines by brothels.
Prostitution law in other states and territories

Prostitution laws are different across Australia. What is legal in one state might be illegal in another.

Talk to:

  • the national Australian Sex Workers Association — the Scarlet Alliance
  • a sex worker organisation in your state or territory like Respect Inc QLD.