For Managers & Owners

Management – Licensees & Approved Managers

RhED is not a regulatory service.

RhED is able to provide information and support to people who work as licensees and managers.

Email or phone 1800 458 752 for more information.

In your role as a licensee or an approved manager, you are subject to a number of circumstances that may affect you legally. This information has been put together for the purpose of bringing some of these circumstances to your attention, so that you may become aware of your rights and responsibilities. If you find yourself in a situation whereby you become subject to the jurisdiction of the law through legal action, we advise that you obtain the appropriate professional advice and representation. RhED is able to help in referrals to experienced practitioners.

Managing a brothel or escort agency requires you to comply with the Sex Work Act 1994 and Sex Work Control Regulations 2006. You must also comply with many other laws, including public health, occupational health and safety, and equal opportunity.

Applying for a licence to run a brothel or escort agency

Only people (not companies) can apply for a sex work service provider’s licence. To apply, you must:

  • be at least 18
  • not have been found guilty or convicted of an indictable offence that renders the grant of a licence against the public interest, having regard to the nature of the offence and the date on which the offence was committed
  • not have had a sex work service provider’s licence granted or cancelled in the last five years
  • not be an associate of an individual or body corporate that has been convicted or found guilty of an indictable offence in the last five years which renders the grant of a licence against the public interest, having regard to the nature of the offence and the date on which the offence was committed
  • not be an associate of a body corporate a director or secretary of which has been convicted or found guilty of an indictable offence in the last five years which renders the grant of a licence against the public interest, having regard to the nature of the offence and the date on which the offence was committed
  • not be an insolvent under administration
  • not be a represented person under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986.

Each individual or partner in a partnership must complete and lodge two forms:

Current application and licence fees can be found here

To download an application form go to

Applying for registration as approved managers

To download an application form go to

Each applicant for a brothel manager license must provide:

  • A completed consent to Criminal History and Other Record Check form.
  • Certified Copies of 100 points of Identification Documents
  • A certified copy of your passport (including Visa details) if you are not an Australian Citizen.
  • ONE recent passport size colour photograph (not more than 3 months old).

The cost of the application is $491.90 (as at March 2019).

The approved manager license is to be renewed every three years.

Registration required for each specific brothel/agency

It is the licensee’s responsibility to inform the Business Licensing Authority (BLA), of the details of the approved managers they have on staff.

However, as a courtesy, approved managers can also notify the BLA in writing, by fax or phone of the brothels/agencies that you are employed by.

Specific legal responsibilities/liabilities

Whilst an approved manager is acting in their supervisory capacity – on the premises or on the phone – their responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring no illegal activities are undertaken on the premises (ie illegal drug taking or selling, the presence of underage persons, alcohol consumption)
  • Remaining available for any responsible authorities such as police, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Department of Health, Consumer Affairs Enforcement, to contact if they need to;
  • Ensuring that all available security measures are undertaken in the advent of any threat to the safety of the sex workers and other staff; and
  • Ensuring the following are displayed: “SWA number”, the illustrated “Safe sex is always practiced on these premises”, “trafficking signage” are displayed in the proper places (reception area, rooms).
Sexually transmissible infections

Under Section 19 of the Sex Work Act, it is an obligation for owners and managers to monitor the health of sex workers who work for them. It is not a legal requirement that sex workers actually produce a medical certificate in order to legally work. However, the Sex Work Act does state that it is an offence for a sex worker to knowingly infect a client with a STI. An acceptable defence against this charge, for the worker, manager and licensee is proof that the worker had undergone three monthly check-ups for STIs and blood tests.

Therefore, for the legal protection of all concerned, it is more or less mandatory that all parties abide by these conditions. Methods of enforcement should be negotiated and carried through by both licensees and managers for their own protection and workers should produce a Certificate of Attendance to indicate that they have seen a doctor for STI checks. No health information is to be provided to management or other workers – that is the private business of the sex worker.

Business practice varies as to how you record sighting of a STI certificate. These include a register detailing the worker’s name, the date a medical certificate was sighted, the date of the next check.

Alcohol and drugs

The sole responsibility of management in relation to the presence of alcohol and drugs on the premises is that of taking caution to create “an alcohol and drug-free environment”. Measures taken could be, for example, a sign at reception saying “no alcohol or drugs allowed on the premises”. For these purposes, any adjoining car park is considered to be “on the premises”. When interviewing new staff, you should inform them that alcohol and drugs are not permitted.

If, in the case of a search carried out by the police, alcohol or drugs are found on the premises, proof by managers/owners that every effort has been taken to create “an alcohol and drug free environment” would be a good defence. In the case where the alcohol or drugs are obviously the property of a particular person (ie the alcohol or drugs were found in the person’s bag or locker), then that person would be held responsible and charged.

Misrepresenting sex workers

It is required by law that when you talk to clients over the telephone or in person, you do not misrepresent the way a sex worker looks or behaves. This is usually more relevant to escort agencies because the sex workers are traditionally not on the same premises as the persons who answer the phone. It is therefore easier to misrepresent a sex worker even if it is unintentional – you may not have met her or him. In this case, accurate descriptions (within reason of course) of the sex workers you refer must be available for you to use. If a client is led to expect something different from what they get, not only is it bad business, it is uncomfortable for the sex worker and may be potentially dangerous (eg the client comes to the brothel and then sees that there are no sex workers that fit the description you have given on the telephone and may become agitated and angry).

Negotiating sexual services on behalf of sex workers

The law states that you cannot negotiate on behalf of a sex worker, the sexual services to be provided. The idea of this is to allow the sex worker the choice of what kind of sexual service they will provide – on a day to day basis. For instance, if a sex worker offers anal sex, you cannot assume that worker will do this service on any day for any client. In brothels this is simple – just ask the sex worker. With escort agencies however, or in brothels when a client is booking in advance, it is best to tell the client that they can negotiate this with the worker on the phone, or in a private talk before the booking. This goes for any service beyond the basic “massage-oral-sex” service, even kissing.

Safety rule

The law now specifically states that whoever is in charge – for instance, the receptionist, manager or licensee – cannot reprimand or punish a sex worker in any way for refusing to see a client if the worker feels unsafe. This means if a worker feels unsafe for any reason at all, including lack of confidence in the security system they are being asked to rely on, as well as feeling unsafe with the client. An example would be if the client looks or appears to be affected by alcohol and/or drugs, or is showing antisocial behavior.

Job descriptions/required duties

Many managers/receptionists negotiate with the owner, their job descriptions and conditions of employment. For example, some managers are required to do secondary consultations on STI checks for sex workers, others are not.

You may be paid as an employee or as a casual worker.

A casual worker does not receive holiday pay or sick pay.

Alternatively, managers/receptionists are often paid employees with the accompanying benefits of sick leave and holiday pay.

Under the Fair Work Act, levels of wages have been set and these are set according to the duties the approved manager and/or receptionist is required to undertake.

To find out more you can go to or telephone the Fair Work Infoline 131394.

Working with authorities

RhED is not a regulated body or an authority that has legislative power or jurisdiction in the Victorian sex industry.

Authorities that work with the sex industry in Victoria include:

  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Tax Office
  • Australian Tax Office
  • Business Licensing Authority
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Contact Tracers
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection
  • Local Government Authorities
  • Office of Fair Trading
  • Sex Industry Coordination Unit, Victoria Police
  • WorkSafe Victoria

Email or phone 1800 458 752 for more information.


The Business Licensing Authority has guide for licensees and approved managers. This guide is written for licensees and approved managers. It explains the key laws and obligations they must comply with and aims to improve their knowledge of the industry. Sex workers will also find this guide useful to improve their knowledge of the obligations to them that licensees and managers have.

Click here to read the guide:

Email or phone 1800 458 752 for more information.

Advertising – RED

RhED produces the RED magazine. RED is published twice yearly – April and October

Advertising is available in the RED magazine.

Current costs advertising rates:

Size Black & WhiteColour
Eighth page 82mm wide x 61mm high$240$340
Quarter page 82mm wide x 127mm high$290$390
Half Page 170mm wide x 127mm high$410$510


  • April – deadline mid-February
  • October – deadline mid-July

You will receive information about advertising prior to each deadline date.

Click here for further information.

RED also provides information in Trade Talk on industry updates. If your business has something you would like the industry to know please Email or phone 1800 458 752 for more information.

Ancillary support

RhED is able to provide support to licensees and managers. Examples include referrals to legal practitioners around licensing issues, financial referrals, etc. Other examples include providing support when unsure of health requirements, occupational health and safety requirements, safer working practices.

Email or phone 1800 458 752 for more information.


Click here for listings.