Illegal brothels are a problem that affects communities everywhere, and Council is determined to explore its options for dealing with such illegal operations in Brimbank.
Brimbank Mayor Cr Lucinda Congreve raised a Notice of Motion at the 19 February Ordinary Council Meeting, asking that Council receives a report detailing the options, including associated benefits, risks and costs, for Council to respond to the challenge of alleged illegal brothels operating in the City of Brimbank.
“We know the problem of illegal brothels is one that other municipalities are tackling too.
“Council often gets complaints from our community alleging massage parlours are operating as illegal brothels in Brimbank. This is a huge concern to our residents, and we want to look at our options for dealing with the problem.
“At present, investigating alleged brothels is extremely challenging because councils have limited legislative powers to deal with such issues, and such investigations often pose risks to Council officers.
“As Victoria Police is the lead agency in sex industry enforcement, the current process is to refer all allegations about alleged illegal brothels for investigation by Victoria Police, including the relevant local Police Station and the Sex Industry Coordination Unit.
“However, such a process can time, and we’re aware that our community wants quicker action on such matters.
“We’re interested in exploring what our options are for dealing effectively with alleged illegal brothels. This would help us consider an appropriate response within our legislated powers and our role of working in partnership with other agencies, such as Victoria Police,” Cr Congreve said.
In 2017 the City of Kingston raised the matter in a motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria’s State Council meeting, asking for a review of the Sex Work Act 1994, and the creation of an ‘interagency’ taskforce to smash Victoria’s illegal brothel industry.
Over the past four years the City of Kingston has started using private investigators to investigate complaints of illegal brothels and have been successful in closing down 18 illegal brothels.