SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Sydney officials have paid private detectives thousands of dollars to have sex with prostitutes to gather evidence needed to shut down illegal brothels, according to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Nine local councils have paid private investigators a total of 25,000 Australian dollars (US$19,740) during the past three years to go undercover and root out the illicit trade.
Nick Ebbeck, the mayor of Kuringai council, which has reportedly spent A$7,000 (US$5,520) in the past month employing detectives to have sex with prostitutes, said extreme measures were necessary.
"We have to employ private investigators to actually go through with the act and come up with reports that will suffice in a court process," he said.
"On numerous occasions over numerous days and times they had to fulfill the act."
He said the evidence given by the investigators was successful in closing two illegal brothels this month.
Licensed brothels are legal and relatively common in Sydney, but a number of unlicensed premises operate throughout the city. Some councilors have complained that the burden of proof for
shutting down illegal brothels is too high.