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Successful brothel bid would be a stiletto to inner-Sydney's heart

Eddie Hayson ... subject to debt recovery actions.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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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  • "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."
    Which is a very good reason why we should have a legally regulated sex industry. Sheehan appears to be trying to use the character of a particular brothel owner to condemn the successful policy of legalising brothels, not very fair and not sustainable on any count. And if he thinks things were better in the old days he needs to do a bit more research, something that could be said of most of his writing.

    Date and time
    April 19, 2012, 8:32AM
    • We should also legalise murder and theft so they can be regulated as there is usally an association to drugs in most murders and theft.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 9:55AM
    • @JB

      Comparing paying money for sex to the taking of a life or the theft of property is utterly ridiculous.

      Most murders are not drug related (in part thanks to the awful aim of our drive-by gangs), but have a wide variety of motives, often personal and domestic.

      If drugs are the motives behind prostitution and theft, then perhaps an inclusive examination of such issues may be more beneficial than your cheap and ludicrous sneer.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 10:16AM
    • JB you are a buffoon.

      There is a huge difference between hiring a sex worker to conduct a consensual transaction and actually victimizing someone through theft or murder.

      One is a crime, one is not. You are a fool to treat those things the same way.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 10:29AM
    • The 'utter ridiculousness' was the point.

      Murder, theft and protitution all decompose our society and should therefore be illegal.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 10:30AM
    • Agreed.
      You can probably take any topic and watch Sheenan and his shock-jock mates paint it with their black and white simplistic logic. This is another great example of where this kind of poor argument seems appealing to the less educated amongst us. ‘Prostitution is bad… therefore ban it and the bad goes away’.

      Yes, prostitution does attract seedy characters, and drugs are often associated, but would the scaling down or closure of legalised prostitution end prostitution? It’s called the world’s oldest occupation for a reason Paul! Reality is that the more legalised it is the more it is off the streets and less chance of women being abused. If married men can’t keep it in their pants the issue is with them, not with those selling sexual services.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 10:31AM
    • JB, a more apt comparison would be the legalisation of driving a car. Cars are dangerous and kill people, but they're essential for the functioning of society, so people are licensed to drive under road rules that are policed. While prositution and drug use are not essential for society, they are also irrepressable, and both should be legalised and controlled to minimise harm.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 11:00AM
    • @Reedy. You really believe that no one is 'victimised' by prostitution? Please!

      Also,I fully acknowledge that prostitution is not a crime. I never stated otherwise.

      Please don't be hypocritical by calling me a 'buffoon' or a 'fool' when you are clearly unable to fathom the simple points that are being made.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 11:02AM
    • I never understood the point of a brothel until I realised the benefit of what they did for the community.

      Simply, shut down prostitution and brothels and be prepared for sexual assualt and rape cases to rise.

      I'm not saying that people will run rampant on the streets attacking woman but prositutes and brothels give desperate men an avenue to direct there sexual frustration and without it, not all but a very small percentage will take matters into their owns hands.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 11:31AM
    • @Reedy, so you're saying that prostitutes are not victims? Perhaps you should ask those who've been forced into prostitution whether they consider themselves victims or not.

      Date and time
      April 19, 2012, 11:44AM

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