The Issue: Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation includes any attempt to profit financially, socially or politically from the use of girls’ or women’s bodies. 

It can include: forced or child prostitution; sex trafficking; debt or religious bondage; early, child or forced marriage; illegal and street-based sex work; and other forms of sexual slavery and servitude.

Around 69,219 women and girls experience sexual exploitation each year in Australia. Living in their family homes, state care, boarding houses, brothels, or experiencing homelessness, they have no choice but to exchange their bodies for safety and survival. Women and girls of all ages, across all nationalities are affected.

  • There is an exploitative illegal sex trade that’s almost as big as its legal counterpart
  • Up to 1,000 women working in Australia in the sex industry are doing so as a result of human trafficking, with 30-40 children identified by police as being domestically trafficked for sexual exploitation into Victoria alone
  • Street sex workers are more likely to experience exploitation and constitute about 10% of the industry
  • 2,519 underage girls experience sexual exploitation across Australia, some as young as 12
  • 250 cases of forced or prospective forced child marriages reported to service providers in 2014
It is horrific when we look at the extent of places, situations, contexts and environments in which girls and women are sexually exploited in Australia. They include on the street, in a brothel, within the pornography industry, through trafficking, or online. This is such an unseen, hidden issue, and it most certainly doesn’t affect the developing world alone. It is right here in our backyards.”EMILY HANSCAMP | Founder & Director

Our research reports:

A Research Report into the Prevalence, Impacts, Context and Service Needs relating to Sexual Exploitation in Australia: Full Report


A Research Report into the Prevalence, Impacts, Context and Service Needs relating to Sexual Exploitation in Australia: Executive Summary

exec. summ

Appendix 1: Overview of Australian Organisations (for the above report)

appendixA Research Report into the Push and Pull Factors of Sexual Exploitation