The case arose when a prostitute, identified only as G.K., was refused a room at the Drovers Rest Motel in Moranbah, a mining town in Queensland. She had stayed there 17 times before the hotel figured out what she was up to in 2010 and banned her.
“Not everyone would choose to do the job I do, but it’s not right that they can treat me like as second-class citizen,” said G.K. to The Australian newspaper. “They wanted me to go away, but I am a tenacious little terrier, and I would not give up.”
Prostitution is legal in Queensland, so long as you are working alone or with a brothel.
G.K. is also seeking damages, said David Edwards, the motel’s lawyer. She is said to be seeking 30,000 Australian dollars (£20,286), according to The Australian newspaper.
Edwards said that the motel intends to appeal the ruling once the Tribunal comes forward with its reasoning behind the decision. Motel groups maintain that they have the right to deny someone from doing business inside of their own business and that it may disturb other guests.
In the meantime though, sex workers and their advocates are thrilled with the ruling, saying that it helps protect the rights of a frowned-upon profession.
“We appreciate the finding and believe it is a big win for sex workers throughout Australia because it sends a very clear message that this kind of systemic discrimination will not be tolerated,” said Janelle Fawkes, chief executive of the Scarlet Alliance, an advocate for sex workers.