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Australian-born sex workers are usually pretty choosy" says Dr Christine Harcourt. SEX workers from Asian backgrounds are fuelling the growth of specialist brothels that offer more ''exotic'' services for significantly less money than their Caucasian counterparts, industry sources say. A review of prostitution laws by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission found 20 per cent of that state's legal brothels were staffed exclusively by Asian-born women.
And police intelligence suggests an even higher proportion of illegal prostitutes are Asian. The situation is the same in other states, a finding of the review that is backed by research from the University of NSW. More than 50 per cent of women working in Sydney brothels are Asian. There is no suggestion of any sex trafficking.
But the national sex workers association, the Scarlet Alliance, said there was no evidence an increasing proportion of prostitutes were Asian.
Elena Jeffreys, from the alliance, said the emergence of Asian-only brothels was a ''reorganisation of the industry''. Former NSW sex industry consultant Chris Seage, who now runs Brothel Busters, which investigates illegal brothels for local councils, said nearly all illegal brothels in Sydney were owned or operated by Asians.
He believes legitimate sex workers are an even mix of Caucasian and Asian-born women. He said Asian prostitutes charged as little as half the fees of Caucasians and were more likely to have unprotected oral sex. They want to try something different, something exotic. Dr Harcourt agreed that sex with Asian prostitutes was likely to be cheaper. She said there was no clinical data showing higher rates of sexually transmitted infections among Asian sex workers.