Torture in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Australia]  [other countries]

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                          

Commonwealth of Australia

Australia has an enviable, strong economy with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Emphasis on reforms, low inflation, a housing market boom, and growing ties with China have been key factors over the course of the economy's 17 solid years of expansion. Robust business and consumer confidence and high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products fueled the economy in recent years, particularly in mining states.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Australia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Prostitutes as young as 13

Bryan Littlely, Sam Riches, Joanna Vaughan, The Advertiser, June 24, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Children as young as 13 are working as prostitutes on Adelaide suburban streets and in brothels.  A police operation targeting underage prostitution has just been completed and a report submitted to the Mullighan inquiry into child sex abuse.  The report includes details of a case in which a man paid for sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Business owners in one notorious spot, along Hanson Rd in the western suburbs, have told The Advertiser they have seen girls aged 14 and less soliciting outside their shops.  Police confirmed children are involved in prostitution but would not specify their ages. They admit policing underage prostitution in areas such as Hanson Rd is difficult.

Organised State Child Prostitution and Pornography in Victoria, Australia: A Survivor's Statement

Hidden Mysteries, Conspiracy Archive

[accessed 31 March 2011]

“Further, I hold fears for the safety of my immediate family, and in the event of their or my own death, disappearance or any unforeseen accident/s, I wish to make it very clear that we were involved as child-victims and witnesses of an elite, child-abusing network which includes senior police officers who have threatened our lives in several instances if we were to ever disclose our information to the media or authorities.”

Pedophilia led boy into prostitution, police say

Geesche Jacobsen, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 6, 2006

[accessed 31 March 2011]

It was the month Arron Light turned 15 that he moved from Nowra to a youth refuge in Surry Hills. Within weeks the runaway teenager had met the man he later accused of sexually assaulting him.  Police believe the alleged abuse ….. was the trigger that led the boy to sell his young body to middle-aged pedophiles.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless

[accessed 30 March 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 Hours - it doesn't matter what time you call  In Australia, call 1800 55 1800

Tomorrow’s Children - Australia’s National Plan of Action Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children [PDF]

Department of Family and Community Services, ISBN 0 642 44906 6, Commonwealth of Australia, 2000

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]

BACKGROUND - In Australia, the reality of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and young people tends to be far more complicated than might be expected. It is largely opportunistic behaviour by teenagers at risk rather than organised activity. The majority of sexual abuse occurs within families and institutions, and is non-commercial in character. The commercial sexual exploitation of children and young people in Australia is part of a combination of critical pathways such as family breakdown, prior experiences of sexual victimisation, homelessness, poverty, drug use, youth unemployment, a lack of suitable alternative accommodation, and social isolation.

What follows is a more detailed examination of Australia’s efforts in the four key areas of child commercial sexual exploitation:

Prostitution and sex for favours;

• Pornography;

• Trafficking; and

• Sex tourism.

ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - AUSTRALIA [PDF]

ECPAT 2005

[accessed 30 March 2011]

Although Australia has a high standard of living, high numbers of children and young people are homeless, which in some cases leads to commercial sexual exploitation. According to the census of 2001, 46 per cent of the 99,900 homeless people at that time were below 25 years of age, with those aged between 12-18 years a prominent group (26 per cent of all homeless people). Factors that push young people to live on the street include poverty, domestic violence, and sexual abuse at home, which results in the disintegration of family relationships. ‘Speaking for Themselves’, a research publication produced by Child Wise (the ECPAT group in Australia) in 2004 confirms significant links between commercial sexual activity of children and those who have experienced abusive backgrounds, exposure to violence, homelessness, and/or drug addiction. Once children live on the street, they become more vulnerable to cycles of drug abuse, sexual abuse and petty theft and may fall into commercial sex as a means of survival. As underage sex work is illegal, they therefore work on the street rather than in a legal brothel, which leads to further risks of violence and increased vulnerability; they are sought out by exploiters because of this.

A significant number of indigenous children, in particular, have been victimised by sexual abuse as a result of inadequate policies for their protection, which also makes them vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. - sccp

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 19 January 2011]

CHILDREN - The Child Sex Tourism Act prohibits child sex tourism and related offenses for the country's residents and citizens overseas and provides for a maximum sentence of 17 years' imprisonment upon conviction. During the 12-month period ending June 30, the AFP began 24 investigations, and 4 persons were charged under the act. Of these, one person pled guilty and was awaiting sentencing, two cases were before the courts, and one case had not yet come to trial. During the year the government continued its awareness campaign to deter child sex tourism, through the distribution of materials to citizens and residents traveling overseas. Child protection NGOs raised community awareness of child trafficking. There were no reports of children being trafficked into the country during the year.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, September 30, 2005

[accessed 19 January 2011]

[65] While the Committee welcomes the information that the State party is seriously considering the issue of youth homelessness, including by means of the National Homelessness Strategy and the “Reconnect” program, it wishes to express concern at the situation of homeless children, who are also more likely to be affected by educational and relational problems and are more exposed to substance abuse and sexual exploitation.

[67] While the Committee welcomes some positive developments in the context of prevention of trafficking and forced prostitution, such as the adoption of the National Plan of Action to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons of October 2003 and the changes to the Criminal Code in 2005 whereby, inter alia, trafficking in persons and child pornography have been criminalized, the Committee is concerned that Australia continues to be a destination country for trafficked women and girls in the sex industry.

Mum jailed for prostituting 16yo daughter

Nick McLaren, ABC News, Oct 19, 2010

[accessed 31 March 2011]

A mother on the New South Wales south coast has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail for forcing her under-aged daughter to work as a prostitute.

She earned up to $4,000 per week.   The teenager's victim impact statement said she felt betrayed by her mother and had a history of repeated self-harm.   She told the court she was forced to participate in illegal drug use and found the work degrading.

Teenager 'can't trust anyone' after mum sent her to work in a brothel

Amy Dale, The Daily Telegraph, October 08, 2010

[accessed 31 March 2011]

A teenage girl says she is "heartbroken" by the actions of her mother, who helped her get work at a brothel so they could earn enough money to start a clothing business.

The girl, then 16, was put on a train from Wollongong and sent to work at Edgecliff brothel Liaisons, described by Judge Paul Conlon as "a high class agency, however frequented by low class individuals".

In a victim impact statement tendered to the Wollongong District Court, the girl said: "It has made me scared, honestly, scared that if my own mother can betray my trust to this extent, what will other people do to me?"

Parents sold daughter for sex

The Courier-Mail, May 15, 2008

[accessed 31 March 2011]

In what was described as the "most horrific case of child prostitution in Australian history'', the girl's mother was jailed for 13 years and her father for 10 years.

The mother faced that charge because she had posed the child for advertising photographs used on the internet and had also aided in the rape of the girl by another man.  The father had helped pose the child for the photographs and had lived off her earnings.  The court heard the girl was aged 12 and 13 years at the time she had sex with various men during an eight months period in 2004.

Police 'knew about' teen sex trade in NT

Tara Ravens, The Age, April 4, 2008

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Trading young Aboriginal girls for sex has been happening for at least 15 years in a Northern Territory mining town, one of Australia's most powerful Aboriginal leaders says.

Non-Aboriginal people working there are believed to be exchanging cash, drugs, taxi rides and alcohol for sex with teenagers, some as young as 13.  Indigenous leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu said the sex trade had been operating for the past 15 years and at least 12 girls were currently engaged in the trade.  "Everybody here knows what has been going on

Mullighan report reveals decades of state care sex abuse

Colin James, Legal Affairs Editor from: The Advertiser April 01, 2008

[accessed 31 March 2011]

The horrific extent of sex abuse against children in state care over four decades has been revealed in the 600-page report of the Mullighan inquiry to State Parliament.  Retired Supreme Court judge Ted Mullighan, QC, yesterday issued a stark warning that children in state care would remain vulnerable to sex abuse unless urgent action was taken to overhaul a system in crisis. His $13.5 million inquiry considered hundreds of allegations of widespread child abuse within government and non-government institutions, spanning 40 years.

Trucking group horrified at sex claims

Australian Associated Press AAP, March 14, 2008

[accessed 31 March 2011]

The trucking industry says it is horrified by allegations drivers have been involved in child sex trade along highways in northern NSW.  Truck drivers have reportedly paid for sex with indigenous girls as young as eight in the NSW north-western towns of Boggabilla and Moree.  In some cases, the girls have been drugged and raped, ABC TV reported.  There have been no prosecutions because the girls refuse to testify, people aware of the cases said.

Indigenous children beg police for help

Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, December 20, 2007

[accessed 30 March 2011]

The details of the way some Queensland children are living in indigenous communities make for saddening and maddening reading.

They tell of a litany of abuse and neglect at the most basic levels – from rape and malnutrition to homelessness and child prostitution.

"In addition, the review team was told that children as young as nine years of age are sexually active. It was alleged that girls less than 16 years of age are soliciting men for sex in return for money, alcohol and marijuana."

Child prostitution a sign of earlier abuse, expert says

Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC News, Dec 11, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

A mental health expert says instances of child prostitution, like those discovered in Broome in north-west Western Australia recently, are usually indicative of prior abuse.

"Neglect or child sexual abuse in early childhood increases the risk that children will get involved in prostitution and various other problems like addiction."

Broome men charged over child prostitution ring

Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC News, Dec 7, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Police believe they have uncovered a child prostitution ring in the Kimberley tourist town of Broome.  It is believed that up to 12 children have been seeking out men prepared to exchange cigarettes, cannabis or money for sex.

Australian runaway became 'sexual slave'

United Press International UPI, Sydney, Nov. 3, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

An Australian teenager who ran away from home eventually found herself in prostitution as "a sort of sexual slave," a judge said.  Judge Michael Finnane said that shortly after leaving home because of a fight with her mother, the unidentified girl met 24-year-old Antonio Salvatore who convinced her to become a prostitute, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.  "She was working for him, making nothing. She was in reality a sort of sexual slave," the judge said.

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery? - A Failed Attempt at Defending Women’s Dignity

Father John Flynn, L.C., Zenit, Rome, Oct. 15, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

VICTORIAN FAILURE - Countries debating whether or not to legalize prostitution could learn from what occurred in the Australian state of Victoria. The state government legalized prostitution in 1984 and since then, the sex industry has flourished. With over 20 years of experience, many of the promised benefits of legalizing prostitution have not, however, materialized, according to a book published earlier this year.

INTRINSIC VIOLENCE - The legalization of prostitution in Victoria has not done anything to reduce illegal sex trafficking, Sullivan argues. In addition, since legalization, child prostitution continues to be a problem.

Aborigines may ban tourists from Ayers Rock

The Associated Press AP, Canberra, 6/26/2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

One of the first townships to be subject to the plan is Mutitjulu, in the shadow of Ayers Rock, or Uluru, the red monolith in the central Australian desert that draws some 500,000 visitors a year. Media reports last year of child prostitution and of children trading sex for gasoline to sniff prompted the recent government inquiry.

Griffith child prostitution claims yet to be verified

Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC News, May 1, 2007

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Authorities say they are yet to receive any specific allegations about child prostitution in Griffith.

Police say there have been rumours about child prostitution in Griffith for more than a year, but they need more information from the public.

Sex for smokes claims - Underage prostitution is rife in Griffith

Brydie Flynn, Riverina Media Group, 30/04/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Another source told The Area News the child prostitution racket had been operating in the city for nearly 20 years.  “This is extremely widespread and the girls are as young as 11 or 12,” she said. “There are a number of motels and caravans around town which they use and it is extremely organised.  “The girls are paid in either drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, jewellery or food … it changes each week. It’s a bigger problem than anyone realises.”  Even the police admit there’s a problem, however they have been unable to make any progress on the case due to an absence of formal complaints.

300 street kids at risk of abuse

Craig Bildstien, The Advertiser, February 14, 2007

[accessed 30 March 2011]

At least 300 street children in Adelaide and "large numbers" in regional cities and country towns are vulnerable to sexual abuse, the head of the Commission of Inquiry into Children in State Care said today.  Former Supreme Court judge Ted Mullighan, QC, says there has been "a long history" in Adelaide of street children – many of them runaways from state care – being exploited for sexual favours.  He lists well-known haunts as Veale Gardens, the banks of the Torrens River and a public lavatory near Jolley's Boathouse restaurant.

Roberts to testify at inquest

Australian Associated Press AAP, May 1, 2006

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Former rugby league star Ian Roberts will give evidence at an inquest into the death of a troubled Sydney teenager who was killed before he was to testify against alleged members of a Sydney paedophile ring.

Shame Of Children For Sale

David Murray, The Sunday Mail, 12 February 2006

[accessed 13 September 2011]

Children are selling sex for as little as $5 on Queensland's streets in an epidemic that crime fighters tried to cover up.  Predators are using cash, drugs, a place to sleep or even just attention to entice the desperate boys and girls, some as young as 8.  A major study confirmed more than 100 children were involved in prostitution across the state, but a detailed report on the issue was never made public.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action [DOC]

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – AUSTRALIAECPAT Australia has commented that Australia is going backwards in terms of child protection. Although the prostitution of children is an increasing problem linked to heroin addiction and homelessness, very little has been done to tackle it. Furthermore, the Federal Government has dissolved the Federal Police Unit whose duty it was to investigate child sex tourism, and there are not enough pro-active measures to pursue sex offenders who go overseas. The Australian government has only allocated financial resources to programmes related to CSEC in developing countries and not in Australia itself.

The Mayhem of Prostitution Reform Bill

[accessed 31 March 2011]


FACT: CHILD PROSTITUTION INCREASES IN A DECRIMINALIZED ENVIRONMENT - In Australia over 3700 children under 18 are selling their bodies for sex.   Victoria (legalized mid 1980s) and New South Wales (decriminalized 1995) are the two worst States for child prostitution.

Child prostitution on rise in Australia -report

Reuters, Canberra

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Child prostitution is on the rise in Australia with an estimated 4,000 children as young as 10 selling sex for money and drugs, a new report says. The study by Child Wise, the Australian arm of the global End Child Prostitution Pornography And Trafficking group, is based on anecdotal evidence and estimated that one in five children on the Internet was solicited by strangers for sex.

Alleged Trafficking of Asian Sex Workers in Australia

Roberta Perkins, Senior Research Officer, School of Sociology, The University of New South Wales

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Child Prostitution Anti-prostitution lobbyists such as ECPAT deliberately link the highly emotive issue of "child" prostitution to their anti- trafficking campaign because they know that it will create sympathy in all well-meaning people.  While a full discussion of this complex issue is outside of the scope of this paper, our research and experience in the sex industry in Australia tells us that Asian sex workers in Australia are not under aged and in fact most are in their late twenties to mid thirties.

Children 'Handed Over To Sex Ring'

Jeremy Roberts, The Australian, 24-5-2005

[accessed 19 January 2011]

"The picture is painted of young girls and boys who were frightened, unable to protect themselves and make disclosure and who were abandoned by their carers [care givers]," says the report by Ted Mullighan, the commissioner of the inquiry into the sex abuse of state wards.  The report finds that young boys from St Joseph's Catholic Orphanage and Brookway Park Boys Reformatory were sexually abused at the homes of adults who had permission to take boys on day outings or to stay away at weekends, the report says.

No. 156  Child Sex Tourism [PDF]

Fiona David, Australian Institute Of Criminology, Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal justice, June 2000, ISSN 0817-8542, ISBN 0 642 24163 5

[accessed 31 March 2011]

[accessed 29 October 2016]

CONCLUSION - It is not known whether the child sex tourism legislation has any real deterrent effect on Australians determined to have sex with children overseas. It may be that these people are simply more careful in their activities as a result of the laws. The success of the child sex tourism legislation is, however, demonstrated by the fact that there have been several success-full prosecutions for sexual offences committed against children overseas that would previously have been beyond the reach of Australian law. Rather than being a “paper tiger” as predicted, the legislation has resulted in a number of substantial convictions for offences committed by Australians over-seas.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Australia",, [accessed <date>]


Torture in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Australia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Australia]  [other countries]