Call for action on Hunter brothels

AN inner Newcastle residents' group has called on the Government and police to do more to curb illegal prostitution in the Hunter Region.

The Islington Action Group was instrumental in the crackdown on street prostitution on the Maitland Road, Islington strip last year.

The Herald reported yesterday that some legal brothel owners and welfare workers believe the crackdown has led former street prostitutes to work from private rooms.

Some believe illegal brothels out-number legal establishments by a ratio of four to one.

Islington Action Group spokesman Geoff Curtis said further work was needed to curb illegal prostitution in the area.

"We have the same issue with home prostitution as we do with street prostitution. The authorities really need to crack down on them," he said.

"We suspect most of the girls who are doing home prostitution have gone though programs that have resulted in them getting a house or their own premises."

He estimated the number of street prostitutes working on Maitland Road had dropped from about 40 at the start of last year to about 10 now.

Newcastle city command duty officer Inspector Jim McArthur said police would continue to be proactive on the issue of illegal prostitution.

"We respond to all information that is brought to our attention and we are grateful when members of the public contact us," he said.

"In addition there are regular patrols conducted over at the strip. Obviously we don't flag them. We do them when it is appropriate."