The Daily/Warren Lynam

MP: It's time to help sex workers

VISITS from sex workers to her electorate office has prompted Ipswich politician Jo-Ann Miller to speak out in parliament in support of prostitution law reforms.

The Bundamba MP spoke out on Tuesday to support a bill that would see illegal escort services face harsher penalties and give sole operators more security.

Mrs Miller said she had previously had prostitutes come to her seeking a way out of the sex industry.

She said while everyone might not like prostitution, those who worked in the industry were entitled to safe workplaces.

“I know that prostitution does exist in my electorate, and it certainly exists in the suburbs,” she said. 

“We need to protect minors and we need to make sure that sole operators operate in a safe manner.

“I know that a lot of prostitutes have problems with drug addiction and other issues such as mental health.

“But I fervently believe that if they choose to work as prostitutes they are entitled to a safe workplace just like any other worker.”

She said she was even paid a visit by a prostitute in recent weeks who was grateful to be back in Queensland after spending months in jail overseas for sex work related crimes.

The Prostitution and Other Acts Amendment Bill was introduced into parliament nearly 12 months ago, and LNP MPs criticised the fact it was only read for the second time this week.

The bill, which came about after the Crime and Misconduct Commission reviewed existing laws in 2006, aims to regulate social escort providers, tighten prostitution advertising policies, improve enforcement and increase the safety of sole operators.

Mrs Miller said she “implored” MPs not to judge men and women who work as prostitutes when debating the bill.