Prostitution has long been legal in WA and due to Kalgoorlie’s perceived “special needs” (a large male population in need of a “safety valve” and significant lack of females) the high rates paid here saw willing women flock to the town. Until 13 years ago, a “containment” policy meant that prostitutes were not allowed to live in the community nor go “where people gathered”, effectively confining them to the one-street red-light district of Hay Street. Now, with containment lifted, the street’s appeal has diminished, prostitutes have flooded in in larger numbers, prices have dropped and almost all the brothels have closed. Just two remain, one of which offers brothel tours.

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