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'Biggest brothel': what's it really like inside?

We took a look inside Stilleto, a brothel with a $12 million development application and potentially, the biggest in Australia.

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Jerry Hall, the former model and ex-wife of Mick Jagger, once infamously said that a woman should be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. Variations on this theme have been popular across numerous cultures for many years.

I have never understood why anyone would want a whore in their bedroom. Besides, the word itself has such ugly connotations now. There is an abundance of lively alternatives.

By way of disclosure, my direct experience of prostitution is scant. The closest I have ever been to the mechanics of the sex trade was in Budapest, in 2007, in a hotel with what turned out to be very thin walls.

Eddie Hayson ... subject to debt recovery actions.

Eddie Hayson ... subject to debt recovery actions. Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Two young men, Americans, and a woman who spoke English with a Hungarian accent, arrived in the next room late at night. Remarkably soon, the woman was moaning loudly but it seemed there was something mechanical about her display of ecstasy.

It turned out there was. This was transactional sex. This was a parody of desire. Within 30 minutes the woman was leaving. I heard her say, ''Here's my card. Give me a call if you want.'' Then came the clump-clump sound of her high heels down the hall. Probably stilettos, the mandatory accessory for sex workers.

Which brings us to sexual transactions on an industrial scale. Commissioner Susan O'Neill of the NSW Land and Environment Court is conducting hearings into a proposed radical expansion of an existing brothel, Stiletto, on Parramatta Road, Camperdown, across the street from the colleges of Sydney University.

Stiletto ... "The world's finest short-stay boutique hotel."

Stiletto ... "The world's finest short-stay boutique hotel." Photo: Nick Moir

Stiletto bills itself as: ''The world's finest short-stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel. Offering truly luxurious bordello and short-stay services; with discreet underground parking, for the discerning pleasure seeker''. Its website advises there are only two weeks left to sample the delights of Cristal, but Vanessa has arrived for one month only.

The brothel offers a daily menu of 28 girls, rostered on in shifts that start at 7am. The developers want to more than double the business premises from 19 bedrooms to 40, at a cost of $12 million. This would give the business the capacity to roster 60 prostitutes over 24 hours.

I would hope the court will not be unmoved by the 80 submissions from Camperdown residents stating this development would have a negative effect on the neighbourhood. Artazan Property Group, the developers, have argued that Stiletto has not prompted complaints from neighbours.

"The links between prostitution and drug addiction are palpable".

"The links between prostitution and drug addiction are palpable". Photo: Anthony Johnson

Yesterday the court heard a submission from owner Eddie Hayson that said, ''The development is in the public interest as the regulated supply of sexual services to the community meets a basic human need.''

Commissioner O'Neill should consider Hayson's track record of acting in the public interest. Stiletto is already subject to a caveat lodged earlier this year by a bookmaker, Tom Waterhouse, for $1 million in gambling debts incurred by Hayson. The Herald has also reported that another caveat has been lodged against the property by John Hayson, Eddie's brother, to secure an unregistered mortgage. Hayson is subject to legal proceedings by the betting agency Betstar for unpaid debts of $181,000. He is subject to debt-recovery actions by the developer George Theodore. He was ordered by a court to pay $100,000 owed to the architect Nick Tobias. He has previously been declared bankrupt.

An apprehended violence order has also been granted against him, albeit without any admissions from Hayson, on behalf of a former partner. Last week, a court heard he sent abusive texts to the woman including one describing her as ''a retarded slut that attracts retards''.

Seedy. Like the brothel business. Like prostitution itself.

The progressive line, personified by the term ''sex worker'', is that prostitutes should be treated without judgment. I don't buy the gloss.

The links between prostitution and drug addiction are palpable and endemic. So are links between prostitution and young women from Asia being threatened and exploited.

The sex trade may have existed since societies were formed and filled a need as ancient as society itself, but it is a seedy business, run by seedy people.

A stiletto is a knife, designed specifically for stabbing. Long and thin, it is not suitable for anything useful beyond violence. The shoes are named after the weapon. A 40-room sex hotel would inflict a wound into the community life of Camperdown.

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