Sex workers face ruin amid coronavirus fears, brothel closures
Shortly after the lockdown announced by the state government, a young sexy lady wearing a loose cotton dress and slippers walked out of a brothel in Melbourne's disused red light district and pushed a wheelie trash can to the side of the road.
Two hours ago, a more typical night was underway in Melbourne's Box Hill neighborhood, with a group of men negotiating with passing pimps while women in tights waited for a phone call in a neon-lit house nearby.
Australia began closing bars, nightclubs and cinemas on Friday until the end of April to stem a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Although the announcement made no mention of government-approved brothels, pimps and sex workers said they had been given the message to close their shops as soon as possible.
'I've got a pretty girl for you. Don't miss the chance and forget it, "grumbles a pimp. In the hours before midnight, the area was dotted with dozens of brothels and private escorts, the outside of one of them. Police security cameras have been monitoring the brothels.
Sex Workers are facing huge crisis due to the pandemic
Australia on Thursday announced massive stimulus measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, including large cash handouts to locals.
But for the hundreds of Asian immigrant sex workers and nightclubs or escorts agencies the wealthy city, their future has lots of uncertainty.
"I don't know how we're going to survive from this crisis," said one sex worker.
"We are not taken care of by anyone, like other working people who can be treated as normal."
The government and the police said nothing to the requests for commenting on the closure of the brothels.
While some aspects of prostitution are illegal in Australia, including soliciting, pimping and running brothels, the country does not explicitly criminalize prostitution.
"What do I do now? On Thursday night, a young woman in a sequined dress said the men were shuffling out of the building's bars, which included the Naughty Girl nightclub and the Downunder Bar.
"I will think about it and find a way, dear. People will still have fun together."