Words Queensland sex workers are banned from using
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
SEX workers are complaining that their work is being hamstrung by ludicrous laws in Queensland that police what they can and cannot say to potential clients.
Government published advertising regulations for sex workers in the Sunshine State are some of the most draconian in Australia and go into an almost perverse level of detail.
Phrases sex workers could get arrested for using in ads includes seemingly innocuous terms such as "natural," "tasty," "kissable" and "sweet nectar".
The taxpayer-funded list reaches its peak of absurdity by specifically ruling out the term "Mistress Squirt A Lot" as well as banning "Spanish Beauty" unless the sex worker is, indeed, Spanish.
And should a sex worker wish to advertise their wares by writing it from an aircraft in the sky, well that's banned too.
A sex worker stating they offer oral sex is prohibited, but oddly, saying they specifically do not offer oral sex is just fine.
But, fear not, the guidelines from the Queensland Government's Prostitution Licensing Authority (PLA) also lists words that are fine to use including "magic hands," "dominatrix," and "man action".
A sex worker rights advocate has labelled the rules "nutty" and "wacky" which only serve to push the industry underground.
Meanwhile, a sex worker from NSW, where the rules are far more chilled, has told news.com.au she was arrested in Brisbane as police tried to prove she'd fallen foul of the state's sin bin of sex words.
The regulations were last updated in 2017 but their prescriptiveness is once again in the spotlight after a ruling in the US that led to a slew of websites shutting down that Australian sex workers had used for advertising.
This may force many into using dating apps to find clients where the back and forth interaction could see Queensland sex workers unintentionally break the law.
MISTRESS SQUIRT A LOT
"The ad regulations are so nutty in Queensland that they don't make sense," said Jules Kim, the head of the Scarlet Alliance, the peak body representing Australia's 20,000 sex workers.
Sex work is legal across Australia with the exception of South Australia but the regulations vary immensely between states. In NSW, prostitution is completely decriminalised meaning sex workers can work in brothels, from hotels or homes, on their own or in groups and there are only limited restrictions on advertising.
It's a different story north of the Tweed River where the Government has a forest of red tape to keep a firm grip on the red light industry that even includes sex workers not being able to work in pairs - even having a receptionist is illegal.
But it's the ad regulations, stemming from the Prostitution Act 1999, that really raises eyebrows.
The public body demands ads "do not offend community expectations", a bar that goes beyond legal requirements from other industries.
"Advertisements describing or referring to body fluids or body waste are not permitted," the PLA states.
"Example: tasty, juicy, sweet nectar, dripping wet, cum, lactating, Mistress Squirt A Lot, pee and the like."
Not words you see every day in a government document.
"Kissable" is banned as it's deemed to allude to unsafe sex, as is "natural" which can only be used to describe someone's body. Again the PLA offers examples such as "natural 36DD bust".
"The only description of genitalia permissible is whether a male has been circumcised … the only acceptable words are 'cut' and 'uncut'. All other descriptions are prohibited. Example: length of penis.
"References to nationality are only allowed if they refer to the nationality of the sex worker. For example - 'Greek Goddess', 'Spanish Beauty', 'Asian Stunner', etc."
Helpfully, the Government lists words that can be used. These include: "exotic relaxation, magic hands, girlfriend experience, sensuous service, Mistress, Master, Submissive, dominatrix, double pleasures (brothels only), intimate touch/es, kinky, hard core, man action and straight-acting".
Imagery of genitalia in ads is a big no-no, even if covered by tight fitting clothing.
The Government says its public servants must vet any ads that depict tools used in "Cock and Ball Torture".
A PLA spokesman told news.com.au the guidelines "exist to limit the impact of prostitution on the community and to moderate for reasonable community standards". "The references to acceptable or unacceptable words are to provide guidance and assistance to advertisers," he said.
The organisation said the guidelines had existed in some form for more than a decade and applied to all forms of advertising, including apps.
"There are legal restrictions on describing services, publishing statements likely to induce a person to seek employment as a sex worker and on advertisements that state ... the business is connected with massage services," it said.
Kim, a sex worker from NSW, said she found herself in trouble in 2015 when she headed to Queensland for work.
While in her ad for Queensland clients she tried to stay between the sex flags, police pounced because she had a link to her more explicit NSW website.
"I had a bikini pulled to one side and genitals showing and had my services listed so that was a violation," Kim, who didn't want to use her surname, told news.com.au.
"It was a pretty standard list of services. Things like me being a full service escort, offering blow jobs and natural oral (without condoms) but even saying something more innocuous like you do French kissing isn't allowed."
Kim said police also tried to suggest she was working with a person, a "double" which is also banned. The case never made it to court.
"I no longer (visit) Queensland because I'm worried about retribution from the police," she said.
A legal crackdown in Washington DC has once again highlighted Queensland's rules. Last Wednesday, the US Congress passed the FOSTA-SESTA acts that hold websites responsible for illegal content in a bid to stamp out sex trafficking.
Erring on the side of caution, there is fear these websites will delete all advertising for sexual services despite prostitution being legal in Australia.
SEX WORKERS IN LIMBO
On Friday evening, Australia time, one of the most popular websites, Backpage, was seized by the FBI and shut down leaving sex workers in limbo. "People who depended on its advertising for a livelihood suddenly had that ripped way," said Ms Kim, from the Scarlet Alliance.
She understood the rationale behind the US move but said its remit was too broad.
"(Online advertising) was a tool of safety. Before someone agrees to a new client, communication and negotiation could happen online."
The closure of websites may push sex workers into using other means, like apps, to contact clients, she said. If Queensland sex workers are asked to describe what services they provide or if they send naked shots, that could land them on the wrong side of the law.
Police entrapment of sex workers is legal in Queensland, said Ms Kim.
"Often police will contact sex workers and ask them for something they shouldn't, like a double, and if you say yes, that could breach the law.
"This shuts down the ability of sex workers to work legitimately and it compromises our choice and our safety."
She said sex workers with English as a second language were particularly at risk as they might not have the means to navigate the bizarre word rules.
"Ad regs are so nutty they don't make sense and are incredibly confusing, particularly for migrant sex workers who are being harassed. For the most part people don't seek to break the law, they just have no idea they are doing so."
So, remember, in Queensland if you're offered "man action" from someone with "magic hands" but specifically not oral sex it's completely legal. But an offer of oral sex and French kissing with Mistress Squirt A Lot is out of bounds.
In a statement, the Queensland Police Service did not deny they conduct stings that could entrap sex workers.
"The QPS do undertake investigations and activities ... aimed at ensuring compliance and offences which may occur within these premises in addition to investigations where illegal sex work is being undertaken outside licenced brothels.
"It is not appropriate to release specific details of methodologies and ongoing police investigations of illegal prostitution for offences relation to the Prostitution Act."