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Police have raided an alleged illegal escort agency on the Gold Coast and charged 25 people with prostitution offences, but several of the women say they were "misled" into breaking the law. Police said the agency had posed as a legitimate operation, with officers uncovering documents including employment contracts and worksheets. Officers raided the home of the alleged business owner, Shawn Moy, 47, and charged him with offences including knowingly carrying on the business of providing unlawful prostitution.
He was released on bail after appearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today and is due to appear in court again next month. Next thing I know, two police officers walk out.
Sharon said she had only been working for the agency for three weeks and had been repeatedly assured the business was legal. During their investigation, police found mobile phones with contact numbers used to advertise prostitution services, a computer with software for booking appointments and two vehicles used for transportation. Senior Sergeant Kevin Groenhuijzen from State Crime Command said the investigation was a success because senior figures had been charged.
However, a spokesperson for Respect Inc — the statewide sex worker organisation in Queensland — said putting police resources into raiding and busting sex workers and industry operators was a "complete waste", with sex workers being the "collateral damage". It said escort agencies were legal "just across the border in New South Wales", with that state decriminalising sex work decades ago and allowing sex industry businesses to be regulated, just like any other industry.
Is this what the community in Queensland really want police and courts to be doing? We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.