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Prostitution is not illegal per se in NSW

Section 91B of the Crimes Act 190 penalizes a person who procures, entices or leads away a person for prostitution by means of fraud, violence, threats, abuse of authority, drugs or intoxicating liquor. Thus the title of Section 91B is “Procuring person by drugs etc.” However, the focus of this article is the use of drugs to procure a person for prostitution

Legal basis

Section 91B of the Crimes Act 1900 punishes the offence of procuring a person to prostitution by drugs. Said law provides that any person through fraud, violence, threat, abuse of authority or with the use of any drug or intoxicating liquor, procures, entices or leads away any person for prostitution, either inside or outside of NSW, regardless if some or more of the acts constituting the offence were committed outside NSW shall be liable to ten years imprisonment.

Elements of the offence

The prosecution has to prove the existence of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  • the accused enticed, procured or led away the victim;
  • the enticement, procuring or leading away was done by means of drugs;
  • the victim was not a prostitute;
  • the purpose of the procurement, enticement or leading away was for prostitution.

Prostitution is not illegal per se in NSW. In fact, in Australia it is NSW that has the most liberal laws on prostitution. Brothels are not illegal here. However, it is a criminal act to induce someone into prostitution which is punishable by imprisonment for seven years under Section 91A of the Crimes Act 1900. Using drugs to induce a person into prostitution is an aggravated offence that is why the penalty is higher in Section 91B.


The maximum penalty for the offence under Section 91B is ten years imprisonment. However, the maximum penalty is imposed only under extremely serious circumstances. The court still has the discretion to impose a penalty that it deems appropriate after considering the facts and circumstances of the case. The court even has the discretion, if properly convinced, to impose a Section 10 dismissal which means that the accused will not be convicted and will not have a criminal record.

The case may be finalized with the District Court upon the election of the DPP or the accused since the charge is a table 1 offence. However, if the DPP or the accused does not make a choice then the case may be heard in the Local Court. 

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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