TCP NEWS 13/03/2007 - Aart Brons inside Cairns' first legal brothel 'Northern Belle' in Bungalow which is finding it difficult to recruit working girls.  Keyword / brothel / working / girls / sex /
TCP NEWS 13/03/2007 - Aart Brons inside Cairns' first legal brothel 'Northern Belle' in Bungalow which is finding it difficult to recruit working girls. Keyword / brothel / working / girls / sex /

Brothel keeper slams illegal COVID-19 prostitution

A CAIRNS brothel owner is livid as sole-operator sex workers flout COVID-19 lockdown rules and ply their trade across the city.

Northern Belle operator Aart Brons received a letter from the Prostitution Licensing Authority on March 23 ordering him to shut down his legal and licensed brothel.

It was a logical decision that had the industry veteran's wholehearted support - but the subsequent failure to clamp down on private sex workers advertising online has left a sour taste in his mouth.

"I totally agree we should have been on that list," Mr Brons said.

"We want to be part of the solution This is body-to-body contact."

Northern Belle brothel keeper Aart Brons says he was happy to shut down operations due to global health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19.
Northern Belle brothel keeper Aart Brons says he was happy to shut down operations due to global health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19.

A quick online search is all it takes to find dozens of Cairns sex workers still working through the pandemic - although some are now offering online, phone and other services without physical contact.

Mr Brons doubted whether most were following the no-contact rules.

"If they shut down prostitution through the brothels, they have to shut down the sole operators - be they legal or illegal - which are 90 per cent of the industry," he said.

James Cook University infectious disease and epidemiology Professor Emma McBryde said closing commercial sex work premises was important to avoid people gathering in large numbers.

Sex workers have been ordered not to engage in physical contact with clients during the COVID-19 lockdown. PICTURE: ISTOCK
Sex workers have been ordered not to engage in physical contact with clients during the COVID-19 lockdown. PICTURE: ISTOCK

She said it made sense to avoid engaging sex workers as a flat rule but argued private operators would likely carry a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission than those in brothels.

"People should refrain from commercial sex work because we're meant to be social distancing," she said.

"But there's a difference between a brothel where you might have 20 people plus 20 workers and a receptionist.

"It's a bit different to a private arrangement, in terms of risk."

A Queensland Health spokesman appealed for people to use common sense in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Sex workers in Cairns are still advertising online — although many have created new no-contact arrangements due to the pandemic.
Sex workers in Cairns are still advertising online — although many have created new no-contact arrangements due to the pandemic.

"Strip clubs, brothels and sex-on-premises venues are considered as a non-essential business … and are not permitted," he said.

"Under this direction, some industries are allowed exceptions as they are required to work in close proximity - for example hairdressers.

"However there are no exceptions allowed for strip clubs, brothels and sex-on-premises venues."

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said sole-operator sex workers were classed as non-essential businesses, like brothels, but "may continue to provide online or phone services".

"Officers can also issue on-the-spot fines of $1334.50 for individuals and $6672.50 for corporations which fail to abide by the health directions," she warned.


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