This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Clash Over Sex Worker Rights In Rural Australia

By ROD McGUIRK

MORANBAH, Australia (AP) â¿¿ A lone woman checking into a motel in the Australian mining town of Moranbah can expect some blunt questioning from the owners: "Are you a working girl?"

Turning on a heel and storming away indignantly will be taken as an admission to prostitution.

"That sort of reaction is really positive proof as far as I'm concerned," said Joan Hartley, the 67-year-old owner of the Drover's Rest Motel and champion of motel operators who want to rid their businesses of sex workers cashing in on a mining boom.

Moranbah in the coal-rich Bowen Basin is part of the new landscape of Australian mining. Workers are increasingly leaving their homes and families for weeks on end to earn big money in distant mines in the Outback. It's a workforce known as fly-in, fly-out, or FIFO (feye-foh) for short.

Where the FIFO miners go, the FIFO prostitutes follow. With miners earning 110,000 to 160,000 Australian dollars ($100,000 to $150,000) a year, many sex workers find working the remote mining towns more lucrative than the economically moribund cities in which they live, despite the travel costs and a recent slowdown that has seen the mothballing of some inefficient mines.

Not everyone in small-town Australia has welcomed the sex workers. Though prostitution is legal nationwide, the two main mining states â¿¿ Queensland and Western Australia â¿¿ have promised or passed laws restricting their activity. Their arrival has fed into broader fears that transient workers â¿¿ miners included â¿¿ and their urban values pose a threat to a close-knit, rural way of life.

Moranbah, a town in Queensland, is one such place. Its population of 11,000 doubles if the FIFO miners housed in nearby camps are counted. Until a recent slump in coal prices, the 42-year-old town was one of the fastest-growing places in Australia.

1 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
NASDAQ 4,635.24 -48.1670 -1.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs