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Single mums turn to brothels and stripping


Some single mothers hit by recent welfare cuts to parenting payments have turned to prostitution and strip clubs in order to keep a roof over their family's head.

The payment cuts came in at the start of 2013 and affect 84,000 single parents, mostly mothers who received parenting payments.

The majority have been shifted onto the Newstart unemployment allowance when their youngest child turns eight.

More than 60,000 single parents now receive between $60 to $100 a week less under entitlement changes.

While the budget will look $728 million better over four years and make the system more sustainable, welfare groups have been concerned families will fall into poverty.

A spokeswoman from a Brisbane brothel told AAP there had been "influx" in applications from single mothers looking for work since the welfare changes came through.

She said there had been about 20 applications.

"They're looking for extra cash to help cope following the cuts and Christmas and back to school," said the spokeswoman, who did not want to be identified.

Women working at this brothel could make up to $1000 during an eight hour shift, seeing three to five clients, she said.

A spokeswoman from an inner-city Melbourne brothel said she knew of some single mothers, affected by the cuts, applying for jobs in strip clubs.

"They find pole dancing is a bit more palatable," she said.

"It's an easier step compared to going all the way with sex work."

A woman from a St Kilda brothel said she had also noticed a huge increase in single mothers seeking sex work.

"It's sad. They're doing it to pay their rent," she said, but also declined to give her name.

Single Parents Action Group spokeswoman Katrina Rae said she was not surprised women in her position were turning to sex work and stripping to pay the bills.

"I wouldn't personally, but you would do anything to feed your family," she said.

"The cuts have made people desperate."

Ms Rae, a Sydney mother of four teenagers, said she had done her family budget on Sunday morning and was $287 behind for the next fortnight.

"I don't have breakfast or lunch. If there's not enough food for dinner I'll have toast so the kids can eat," she said.

"We look at our budgets and we cry ourselves to sleep."

She said the federal government was "clueless" about how hard single mothers work to care for their families and pay the rent.

"We're not sitting at home watching daytime television," Ms Rae said.

"We run around like headless chooks."

She said as a victim of domestic violence she didn't choose to be a single parent.

"Society sees us as a bunch of teenagers who can't close their legs," Ms Rae said.

"For me the choice was continue to be a punching bag or get out."

Ms Rae works a full time job in insurance, commutes 22 hours a week for work, and only manages to stay $25 above the poverty line each week.

"I've considered moving our family into a garage and living in the car," she said.

"At the moment I sleep on a lounge so the kids can sleep in a bed."

Comment is being sought from the federal government departments concerned.



  • When was this never so?

    Date and time
    January 21, 2013, 8:15AM
    • When was what never so?

      John Howard and Julia Gillard have collaborated to slash parenting payments and now mothers are forced into prostitution.

      The ones who will suffer most will be the children. Left home alone, mothers who need drugs to numb themselves enough to turn tricks.

      I think a lot of single mothers will now be voting Green.

      I also think it should be legislation, that if a political party wants to cut welfare payments or hospital funding, that it needs to be stated publicly during their election campaign or not be able to do it.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 8:44AM
    • So, now that they *have* to work, they do. Good. Keep the welfare fixes coming.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 9:22AM
    • sarajane re. "and now mothers are forced into prostitution."

      Nobody's forcing anybody into anything. These single mothers don't have a gun to their head forcing them to do something they don't want to. There are other jobs out there, other than prostitution and stripping, that they can do. Other jobs don't seem to pay $1000 per day though...

      If they are applying for jobs in brothels or strip clubs then they are dong it because they choose to.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 10:17AM
    • Hardship is forcing them into it. Hardship that welfare payments are supposed to alleviate.

      You all say "they can get another job", but it isn't that easy. Many employers still discreetly avoid single mothers, because they need time off when their children are sick etc. Working hours aren't the same as school hours, so children are left alone, and after school care doesn't always have places. And not all mothers are so immediately employable, they haven't been in the workforce for a few years, their skills may be rusty, or not have any.

      Simply slicing their income is the worst thing you can do to them, it just pushes them into further poverty. And that will have devastating consequences.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 10:32AM
    • Andy you may think it's all well and good that these mothers are being forced to do some kind of 'work', however, you seem to forget that the children of these mothers do in fact have biological fathers that are legally obliged to provide for their children, but mostly they do not! So why dont you start a case for fathers to start contributing to their childrens upkeep and upbringing if you're so keen for the mothers to be working!?

      This situation of course, like most is yet another attack on the female of the population. Yes, I'm very much aware that some single parents who have had their payments cut are males, but that's the difference between you and me Andy, I realise there are 2 sides of the story. You on the otherhand are ready to jump in and attack females. Sexist much!?

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 10:40AM
    • Forced into Prostitution, or casual retail jobs where they can earn tax free $18k per year.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 10:53AM
    • What's wrong with the profession of prostitution? It's a legal service desired by customers who pay well. The government has done a good job getting people back into work.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 11:41AM
  • Sickening.
    But then I'm not surprised about anything from this Labor government.

    Date and time
    January 21, 2013, 8:16AM
    • Actually it was Howard who cut the parenting payment back, it was Julia who enforced it.

      Date and time
      January 21, 2013, 8:40AM

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