The government will move to better protect young people from being caught up in the ACT’s sex industry, and will examine how it can stamp out sex slavery, organised crime, and human trafficking in the territory.
The government released its response yesterday to an Assembly Committee report investigating the territory’s prostitution laws.
It made 17 recommendations ranging from creating a stronger inspection regime for brothels, a requirement for brothels to provide sex workers with safety equipment, and stronger laws prohibiting the employment of those under the age of 18.
The committee called for appropriate police and government resources to be devoted to stamping out the risk of organised crime in the territory’s sex industry.
Those who leave the sex industry, the committee said, should be given adequate support by the ACT Government.
Multilingual signs warning customers and workers that trafficking is a criminal offence would also be installed in brothels under the committee’s recommendations, and a culturally and linguistically diverse outreach program for sex workers would be created.
It also called for changes to the way sole operators can work in the ACT.
Sole operators would no longer have to register themselves with the Office of Regulatory Services, and that up to two sole operators can operate from a single home, as long as they are not in the employ of each other.
The government has agreed to 12 of the 17 recommendations, and has noted four for ‘‘possible action’’ subject to available resources.
Those areas of possible action include support for sex workers wishing to leave the industry, and the changes to sole operator requirements.
A working group will now be established to oversee the government’s implementation of the recommendations.
Attorney-General Simon Corbell said that working group would include representatives from the sex industry.
‘‘It is important that provisions exist for brothels, escort agencies and sole operators to ensure that people involved in the sex industry, either as workers or clients, are kept healthy and safe,’’ Mr Corbell said.
‘‘The Government is committed to maintaining a safe environment within the sex industry and protections for the broader community.’’