The Honey Pot closed during the height of the pandemic. Pictured are staff Zara Burnett and Telina Dyer in 2018.
The Honey Pot closed during the height of the pandemic. Pictured are staff Zara Burnett and Telina Dyer in 2018.

Darwin’s standing as sin city laid bare as strip clubs close

ALL of Darwin's strip clubs have closed, leaving adult entertainers struggling financially and potentially changing the Top End's reputation as the debauchery capital of Australia.

Both venues in Darwin's CBD - The Honey Pot and Sinsations - have shut their doors in the past 12 months.

The NT News understands The Honey Pot closed due to financial pressure during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and Sinsations closed before coronavirus struck.

The Demographics Group co-founder and director Simon Kuestenmacher said both businesses were particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 because they relied on clients from interstate and overseas.

"If tourism and military aren't coming to the Territory, it is hitting the venues that rely on them," Mr Kuestenmacher said.

He said the venues wouldn't be likely to reopen until overseas travel returned.

"There are some local people (who visit the clubs), but that would be a reasonably small share," Mr Kuesten­macher said.

"It's often this special debauchery occasion … a buck's night, on an overseas trip or after a long time on a military vessel."

 

The Honey Pot closed during the height of the pandemic. Pictured are staff Telina Dyer and Zara Burnett in 2018.
The Honey Pot closed during the height of the pandemic. Pictured are staff Telina Dyer and Zara Burnett in 2018.

 

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A report on the impact of COVID-19 on the sex industry from Scarlett Alliance, the Australian peak body for sex worker organisations, found sex workers were hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

"The sex industry workforce is a mixture of precarious workers, subcontractors and sole traders," the report said. "We are only paid when we are able to work and do not have access to sick leave, annual leave or employer contributions to superannuation."

It said although some workers had found work online or in other spaces, that wasn't possible for all.

"While some have been able to adapt to online or non-contact work, the saturation of workers in these spaces makes it difficult for many to earn enough income to cover our expenses and support ourselves and our dependants."

According to NT Health, there are currently no specific restrictions in place for sex workers but businesses must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place and check-in system.

Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the closures could change Darwin's image to be more family-friendly.

"What we have seen now in Darwin is new sophisticated restaurants which are very well patronised from locals and people from down south," he said.

However, he said the clubs could return along with the overseas travellers.

"I'm sure someone will reopen Sinsations," he said.

Originally published as Darwin's standing as sin city laid bare as all strip clubs close down


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