POLICE will investigate an illegal prostitution business that advertises on Chinese social media and operates in Melbourne’s top hotels.
Following a Review Local investigation, website Sweetybabe.net shut down – but it has assured its
clients it will be back in business.
The mobile-brothel operator closed its website after an article was published last week exposing its operations at three hotels, including Crown Metropol, Hotel Grand Chancellor and Flagstaff City. All three have denied any knowledge of illegal prostitution.
Last week Sweetybabe assured its clients via Chinese-language social networking website QQ that it was not under police investigation.
“We have been checking every day,” one of Sweetybabe’s posts said. “We are not being investigated.”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the police were “committed to investigating all reports of matters of this nature and will look into the allegations made in the article”.
She would not provide details of ongoing investigations, but said translators were available to Police.
“We are seeing illegal activities conducted in new ways such as via websites and social media,” the spokeswoman said.
“Victoria Police is adopting appropriate strategies to meet these
Sweetybabe’s closure sparked heated discussion on QQ among Sweetybabe clients.
In one post, Sweetybabe quoted from the Review Local article that the former head of Victoria Police’s Sex Industry Coordination Unit (SICU), Inspector Trevor Cornwill, confirmed the website and its operator were not on the unit’s radar.
SICU was set up to Victoria’s illegal brothels.
In another post, Sweetybabe told a group with 183 members that the sex workers had been “exposed” but they were still available.
The Sweetybabe website was set up in February, a day before SICU – the leading police agency for investigations into Victoria’s multi-million-dollar illegal prostitution industry – was established.
Sweetybabe increased its number of sex workers to 19 last week and were advertising as having girls available in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. A mobile phone app was due for release before the website shut down.
Sweetybabe advertises its services to “white-collar” clients. “We are the busiest in all Australia,” the website boasted before it closed.