Despite legalizing brothels, 90 per cent Queensland's sex industry is either unregulated or illegal, finds a study.
The University of Queensland's Human Trafficking Working Group, led by Associate Professor Andreas Schloenhardt, has found that despite general support for a licensed sex industry in Queensland, many underlying concerns remained.
"There are concerns within the community about the efficiency of the current licensing system, unregulated and illegal forms of prostitution, the trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation into legal and illegal brothels, as well as the possibility of regulating escort services," the Brisbane Times quoted Schloenhardt as saying.
Most sex workers in illegal operations face threats to their safety, and do not have the checks essential for their sexual health.
According to The Sun-Herald, only 10 per cent of prostitution was legal 10 years after introduction of the Prostitution Act 1999.
Ninety per cent of escort agencies, street prostitution, unlicensed brothels, and the sharing of premises by more than one sex worker were either unregulated or illegal.
Schloenhardt said that the State Government had clearly failed to draw as many of illegal operators and workers as possible into the legal industry.
He said that legal brothels were extremely expensive to set up, and most went broke after a few years.
LNP Member for Buderim, Steve Dickson said that low fines were encouraging illegal sex rings and trafficking.
While legal operators have to pay around 30,000 dollars a year in government fees and charges, illegal brothel operators are only fined about 2000 dollars if they are caught.
An illegal operator can be busted 15 times in a year before they face the same costs as legal operators.