From ABC , January 25, 2007
COUNCILS DEFEND PAYING INVESTIGATORS TO HIRE PROSTITUTES
Local councils have paid private detectives to hire prostitutes in order to gather evidence against illegal brothels in Melbourne.
The Yarra Council says it has used private investigators to successfully shut down four brothels over two years.
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) says it is necessary for investigators to enter the premises in order to give evidence in a court.
MAV president Dick Gross says hiring private agents to investigate illegal operations is money well spent.
"Ratepayers will not be disappointed with this news, these involve small amounts of money to enforce provisions that no one else has been enforcing," he said.
"We have been backed into a corner, we are using ratepayers money effectively."
He says the Prostitution Control Act needs to be amended to help councils police the sex industry.
"We believe that this matter must be policed by collaboration between the police and consumer affairs," he said.
"At the moment, local councils are enforcing what is a joint responsibility with other people and our legislation makes it particularly difficult for us."