But men also come here willing to splash serious cash. On this steamy summer night, a plump man in glasses loiters shyly near the reception. Seeing his resolve waver, the madam quickly whisks him away to introduce to a woman. A group of intoxicated Irish men from the nearby casino sway near the pool table, slurping beer. Later, two men in their early 20s — both good-looking, one with a mane of trendy dreadlocks — are introduced to a gaggle of women.
Langtrees, which has branches across Australia, prides itself on its lounge atmosphere. Women in skimpy clothes and sky-high heels still do line-ups for clients to take their pick.
They all have profiles online with vital statistics listed: But more often, men come in with their mates, have a drink, play some pool, and chat with the women before heading upstairs.
But when it comes down to business, things quickly become more regulated. Private rooms with names such as Double Delight and Golden Dreams are decked out with gaudy murals of sex acts and cheap sheets. Once the door is closed, the woman will ask the man to shower. Only after she has inspected him for genital warts, suspicious discharge, and rashes if needed she will call downstairs for a second opinion will the session start. In Western Australia, the sex-work industry operates in a grey zone: Prostitution is not illegal, but activities associated with it, such as brothels and pimping, are.
In some other states, it is legal. For years, however, authorities have turned a blind eye to places like Langtrees. And, like the miners, sex workers have flocked to Perth from homes elsewhere — sometimes travelling from as far afield as Europe or South America — for the high demand and wages.
Essentially they are renting the Langtrees brand. The money makes it worth it. The top women might double that. In Western Australia, the sex-work industry operates in a grey zone. Eliza, 25, divides her time between shifts at the hospital where she works as a nurse and escorting. As an avid competitive horsewoman, she is also about to launch her own equestrian sportswear company.
While she comes from a middle-class family — her father is high up in government — she is fiercely independent. Now she has no need to. Bubbly, fun, and bright, she lives in Perth with her partner, who works in the mining industry, but keeps her sideline income hidden from him, as well as friends and family.
That annoys me because it is purely just a job. I have a fake name when I work but I offer the real me —[men] appreciate the realness because real women turn them on. In the bunk room, Alina, the Russian, is taking a break. She adjusts her ponytail and pink body-con dress and takes a bite of her Big Mac.
But when her partner left her to bring up their small son alone, she struggled and was forced to go on the dole: My baby can have everything. Alina recalls once being pinned down by a man high on drugs, and just out of jail, who tried to force her to have sex without a condom.
They think they should just get it for free. At times, when men have gotten too pushy, Laticia has felt abandoned by the law. But rape, sex trafficking, and physical safety, especially regarding sexually transmitted diseases, are all concerns in the industry. Fierce competition — and resulting loss of morale — can also take its toll. When Sasha, the transsexual, started to gain popularity, the other women became jealous. Management, afraid that Sasha might become subject to a hate crime, suggested that it might be better for her to leave.
Rape, sex trafficking, and physical safety are all concerns in the industry. So far, traffic on the app has been high but the number of bookings has been fewer than expected — there have been about since the launch.
Mila Jovi, a name she uses for work, runs an escort agency in Sydney and said she thought stigma would stop people from taking advantage of the technology. It is slow, but it's getting less and less. First posted January 23, If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC.
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