Illegal prostitution is exploding in Queensland, shows a damning submission to the state's crime watchdog.
The bad old days when illegal prostitution was operated with impunity are returning to Queensland.
The submission exposes a thriving criminal sex industry and warns that decade-old reforms aimed at regulating prostitution are on the brink of collapse.
Prostitution Licensing Authority chairman Manus Boyce, QC, has told of a flourishing illegal sex industry and the potential for legitimate operators to be drawn into criminal activity.
While there was no evidence of official corruption in the licensed brothel sector, the illegal industry is operating without fear.
"All indicators are that there is a thriving illegal prostitution sector, both in the form of illegal brothels and illegal escort agencies, which operate largely with impunity," the Courier Mail quoted Boyce as saying in a 31-page submission to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
"The large profits to be made from illegal prostitution, as well as the perception that there is a low risk of discovery and prosecution, provide powerful incentive for illegal operators," he said.
But Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek, who said illegal prostitution had exploded under the long-term Labor government, has seized the submission.
"This is the result of a government that's soft on crime," he said.
Police Minister Neil Roberts said any CMC recommendations to "further enhance and strengthen" prostitution laws would be considered.
Boyce said that the PLA had been effective in making sure only suitable people operated brothels.
But he said brothels should also be able to provide outcalls, and suggested escort agencies be licensed so more of the sector was exposed to regulation, putting pressure on the illegal sector.