Melbourne is the second biggest metropolis in Australia and the capital city of the state of Victoria. It is located on the bay of Port Phillip and extends into the Macedon and Dandenong mountain ranges, Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula. The city covers 9,900 square kilometers and serves as home to 4,529,500 people as of 2015.
From a small pastoral outpost during the 1850s, Melbourne grew into a global metropolis within three decades. This remarkable growth was largely attributed to the ‘gold rush’ wherein a phenomenal incursion of migrants brought prosperity to the region. To date, Melbourne remains the cultural, financial, and sporting capital of Australia.
The red-light district is located in the suburb of St. Kilda. St Kilda is the seaside playground of Melbourne and forms part of the City of Port Phillip. It became the red-light district of Melbourne after World War II. Brothels are now spread throughout the city, particularly on Greeves Street, where hookers and kerb crawlers roam every night.
St. Kilda became famous for its bohemian style, specifically during the 1960s, attracting young artists who took advantage of cheap housing. The main street is Fitzroy which is lined with cafes, pubs, and restaurants serving an array of cuisines that highlight Melbourne's multicultural heritage.
In 2002, St Kilda police estimated that between 300 and 350 street prostitutes operate in the area over a twelve-month period, with around 50 female sex workers roaming the street during peak periods.
Today, prostitutes are operating on the streets of St Kilda 24/7. There are now well-established markets for street sex with customers, mostly businessmen and taxi drivers travelling to and from work. The sex workers render their service in cars, laneways, parks, front and backyards. Clients normally drive their cars through residential areas and openly solicit sex on the street.
History of the RLD
A total of 14 Grey Streets makes up metropolitan Melbourne, but the most renowned one is the Grey Street in St Kilda, which was once an upscale residential area but has now been stereotyped as a center of prostitution. Grey Street runs southeast between Barkly and Fitzroy. It is located within the original settlement area of St Kilda, which was subdivided in 1842 for land sales. When St Kilda became a wealthy suburb during the second half of the nineteenth century, the rich mercantile class of Melbourne started building mansions on Grey Street. They were attracted by St Kilda’s proximity to the beach, as well as the restaurants and hotels of The Esplanade and Fitzroy. The social status of St Kilda declined during the twentieth century and the wealthy decided to leave Grey Street. It later became notorious as one of the main areas of street prostitution in Melbourne. Prostitutes operate on the corners of Barkly, Dalgety, and Robe Streets. Customers in vehicles, known as ‘gutter crawlers’, are considered by locals as a major nuisance. The use of illegal drugs also emerged as a problem.
How to Find the RLD
The RLD lies about six kilometres from the Central Business District, in the Port Phillip Bay. From the CBD, hop on a tram, and the trip will take about 25 minutes. The fastest is Tram 96 from Bourke Street or Southern Cross Station.
Stay Safe in the RLD
Melbourne is generally a safe city to stay in, but there are certain areas that are best avoided especially at night. These include some northern suburbs like Broadmeadows, parts of the western suburbs surrounding Sunshine and Footscray, and southern suburbs such as Dandenong and Frankston. The city center, specifically the area around the strip club and nightclub district of King Street, is a known hotspot for alcohol-triggered violence late at night. However, visitors are more likely to be jeered by street walkers and drunken revelers than for them to be threatened or randomly attacked. Nonetheless, observing safety precautions and staying in well-lit areas is a good way to avoid any kind of trouble.
Melbourne is one of a handful of places in Australia where prostitution is legal. For those looking to find prostitutes, the city is the perfect place. There is a profusion of brothels, strip clubs, adult bookshops, adult cinemas, dance clubs, gentleman’s clubs, alternative bars, and other adult entertainment venues.
Whether you’re searching for lap dancers or full nude dancing, you’ll find everything in Melbourne. The city isn’t exclusive for men since everybody can have a great time regardless of sexual inclination.
There are two prominent adult cinema houses in Melbourne that are worth a visit.
Street sex work is illegal and authorities are very strict about it. Police operations in St Kilda are focused on sex workers and their clients. There are officers in marked police vehicles as well as undercover officers who conduct entrapment operations. There are ongoing discussions about the decriminalization of street sex work but the government has yet to show definitive action.
Street prostitution is illegal, but the Prostitution Control Act of 1994 legalized brothel prostitution in Victoria. The act was amended in 2011 and it is currently known as the Sex Work Act of 1994. The legislation aims to provide better regulation and eradicate the criminal elements in the industry, particularly the use of underage and trafficked women.
The legal age for a prostitute is 18. Street sex workers who get caught violating the law face a penalty of up to $500 or a one-month imprisonment. Second offense entails a fine of up to $1500 or three months imprisonment. Three or more offenses constitute a fine of up to $2500 or six months imprisonment.
For the clients of street sex workers, the first offense involves a penalty of up to $1000 or one month imprisonment. Second offense constitutes a fine of up to $3000 or three months imprisonment, while the third and succeeding offenses entail a penalty of up to $6000 or six months imprisonment. Note that the fines imposed on sex-related offences are higher if they occur close to a place of worship or a place where children gather such as a community playground or a kindergarten. In addition, it is an offence to show indecent behavior in public or act in a manner that is insulting, offensive, threatening or abusive towards a sex worker. Authorities can impose a fine of up to $3000 or three months imprisonment.
As for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, the state of Victoria is considered as one of the most liberal jurisdictions with regard to LGBT rights. Gays and lesbians generally enjoy the same rights as non-LGBT people, but same-sex couples cannot enter into civil marriage since it is under federal jurisdiction. Below is a summary of LGBT rights:
Melbourne is an exhilarating place once the sun has set. The bars and pubs are much better compared to those in Sydney. Most of the pubs are packed to the rafters every Friday and Saturday night. The pubs typically stay open from mid-morning until at least midnight. Many stay open until 2- 3 am. To find out the latest happenings, get a copy of The Age and check the Friday entertainment guide.
The nightclub scene used to be concentrated on King Street, and while the area remains popular with its huge disco-style venues, Melbourne now has a menagerie of hidden bars and clubs. Just follow the crowds and you’ll end up in one of those unique venues.
For those who are into the performing arts, Melbourne is the perfect spot as it is Australia’s most dynamic performing arts city. The theaters got everything covered, from large-scale Broadway-style musicals to offbeat independent productions. Melbourne also hosts the most prestigious festivals, with the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival drawing top local and international artists.
The gay scene is spread throughout the city and divided by the Yarra River into north and south sides. Melbourne hosts year-round events for the LGBT community, with the biggest ones held in the summer months. The gay scene in the Northside is artsy, alternative, independent, and has the majority of Melbourne’s leather and sex-on-site venues. The gay influence is quite evident in the districts of Abbotsford, Brunswick, Carlton, Collingwood, and Fitzroy. Northside also has a high lesbian population.
Southside has a higher gay population, with a plenitude of gay bars, clubs, and fashion outlets. The main focus is on the area of Chapel Street, which is one of the city’s major shopping and restaurant hotspots. The gay-oriented areas are located around Prahran, Richmond, Windsor, South Yarra, and South Melbourne, including St Kilda.
General Attitude Towards Gays
Melbourne is generally a gay-friendly and gay-tolerant city with a wide selection of bars and clubs located in the older inner-suburban areas. The Midsumma Gay and Lesbian Festival is celebrated annually in January and February. It is highlighted by art events, a ball, and a street parade. Melbourne even features a Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Information Service with 24-hour recorded information on the city’s entertainment scene. Just dial 9510 5488 and trained counselors are ready to provide assistance.
Gay Prostitution in Melbourne
Gay prostitution is concentrated in Collingwood, Prahan, South Yarra, Southgate and
Southbank. Some gay sex clubs, saunas, and massage parlors double up as prostitution dens. There are also male escorts who advertise their services online.
Transexual prostitutes are mostly found in Huntingdale and South Melbourne. There are also transsexual escorts in the city. Some of the ladyboys work at brothels, but most prefer to work independently in private flats.