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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                               

Commonwealth of Australia

For nearly two decades up till 2017, Australia had benefited from a dramatic surge in its terms of trade. As export prices increased faster than import prices, the economy experienced continuous growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, very low public debt, and a strong and stable financial system. Australia entered 2018 facing a range of growth constraints, principally driven by the sharp fall in global prices of key export commodities. Demand for resources and energy from Asia and especially China is growing at a slower pace and sharp drops in export prices have impacted growth. The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2021]]

Description: Description: Description: Australia

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 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 aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  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.


Homelessness among young people in Australia - Early intervention and prevention

Phil Crane, Jillian Brannock (Project Directors), a report to the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme

[accessed 19 September 2011]

[accessed 21 November 2016]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The study found that young people see their relations with parents, or other parent figures as central to their capacity to remain at home. Young people indicated they principally left home because of conflict with parents, various forms of abuse, because they were kicked out, and/or because of drug and alcohol related issues. Themes of a lack of felt emotional support, a culture of blame, and unresolved grief and loss pervade the accounts of these young people. Young people suggested that well in advance of home leaving occurring, there needs to be improved parental and adult attitudes and behaviours to them, greater understanding of the impact of new parental partners on them, a halt to abuse, and early access to third party facilitation of communication.


*** 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

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

ECPAT 2005

[accessed 30 March 2011]

[accessed 21 November 2016]

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 4 February 2020]

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE - According to a 2004 ABS survey indigenous youth were 1.9 times more likely than non-indigenous youth to leave school before graduation; however, this was a significant improvement over the previous 5 years.

Although Aboriginal adults represented only 2.2 percent of the adult population, according to the ABS they accounted for approximately 21 percent of the total prison population and were imprisoned at 11 times the rate of non-indigenous persons as of June 2004, down from 15 times the non-indigenous rate in 2002. More than 45 percent of Aboriginal men between the ages of 20 and 30 years had been arrested at some time in their lives. In 2003 Aboriginal juveniles accounted for 47 percent of those between the ages of 10 to 17 in juvenile correctional institutions. Human rights observers noted that socioeconomic conditions gave rise to the common precursors of indigenous crime, including unemployment, homelessness, and boredom.

Indigenous groups charged that police harassment of indigenous people, including juveniles, was pervasive and that racial discrimination by police and prison custodians persisted. Human rights groups and indigenous people alleged a pattern of mistreatment and arbitrary arrests occurring against a backdrop of unofficial yet systemic discrimination.

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]

[51] The Committee welcomes the various efforts of the State party to reduce suicide among youth in recent years, but it remains concerned that the youth suicide rate is still high, especially among indigenous children and homeless adolescents, and that mental health problems and substance abuse are increasing.

[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.

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."

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.

Gang culture in our schools

[access information unavailable]

"These kids are not yet organised, but if somebody with some real gang experience, an older person who wants to move drugs or weapons, gets a hold of these kids and organises them, that's when Brisbane's going to have a problem."  I can tell you this, this is already happening.

Living Rough: Preventing Crime and Victimization Among Homeless Young People [PDF]

Strategic Partners Pty Ltd, 1/1/2001

%29 ~no9_fullreport_part2.pdf/$file/no9_fullreport_part2.pdf

[accessed 21 September 2011]

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 21 November 2016]

APPENDIX 1 - CASE STUDIES – INTRODUCTION - As part of profiling successful practices and strategies currently being undertaken to prevent crime and victimisation, contact was made with a wide range of agencies working in the areas of homelessness and crime prevention.  Following considerable contact with agencies and individuals, 28 projects were selected as examples of good practice.  To build a profile of what might be considered good practice in this area, 22 agency visits and six telephone interviews were undertaken across Australia.  The critical aim of the visits and interviews was to document programs which make a difference in the prevention of crime and victimisation of homeless/at risk young people. Following the visits and interviews, services were then contacted by fax and telephone to review and comment on the case studies before inclusion in the report.  The following section provides a description of the model of service and service objectives of each case study, how they are making a difference, what outcomes demonstrate this, best practice principles underpinning projects (as articulated in Section 5), how they are evaluated, and whether the model could be replicated in other contexts.

Rebecca's Story

Dominic Mapstone, Director, Rebeccas Community

[accessed 31 March 2011]

"Two things happened when I turned 12, my Father who used to beat the hell out of us left home and the other thing that happened is I started using drugs... One of my friends said 'Here try this it will make you feel better', and it did.  When I turned 13, my Mum found a new partner who lived at home with us. He raped me regularly and abused my younger sisters as well. I was only 13.

Jazmin's Story

Dominic Mapstone, Director, Rebeccas Community

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Jazmin was raised by her alcoholic father for the first eight years of her life and foster parents until she was 12 years old.  She ran away from foster care to escape a foster father who was violent.  Living on the streets using whatever drugs or alcohol she could get her hands on to escape her pain, Jazmin was using heavily when she became pregnant at 15.

Gish's Journal

Dominic Mapstone, Director, Rebeccas Community

[accessed 31 March 2011]

I'm 26 years old and have lived on the streets since I was 6 years old. A year ago I moved into Rebecca’s Community 'Hospitality House.' This website chronicles my life journey through foster care, homelessness, drug addiction, prison and my new life off drugs and off the streets.

Sydney’s Street Kids Get Connected

Megan McAuliffe, ZDNet, June 12, 2001

[accessed 10 October 2012]

The project aims to provide the homeless and disadvantaged with access to computers and free Internet access. It will also provide meals for those using the Café.  The project is the brainchild of Salvation Army Oasis Youth Support Network and the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove.  Tech Pacific was also instrumental in gathering local IT support to build the Street Level Internet Café.

Street Kids Produce Hip Range Of ‘Speakout’ Streetwear With Help Of Commonwealth

Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Media Release, 19 August 1999

[accessed 31 March 2011]

"Speakout is a remarkable success story. All of their products have been designed, produced, packaged and marketed by young people who have overcome personal setbacks or difficult situations in their lives." Dr Kemp said.  "These young people may have been street kids, homeless or long-term unemployed who took up the chance to get nationally accredited training certificates in office work, screen printing or garment production at Speakout."

Open Family Australia

Open Family Australia | Homeless Youth

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

[accessed 21 September 2011]

39,000 young people aged between 12 and 25 are homeless in Australia on any one given night.

Saving street kids: Fr Chris honored

Damir Govorcin, The Catholic Weekly, 15 December 2002

[accessed 31 March 2011]

Without significant government funding, Youth Off The Streets has become one of the largest youth services in Australia offering street-based programs, secondary schooling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counseling, long-term residential treatment, semi-independent living, individual casework and family support facilities.

Youth Off The Streets

Community Development & Outreach Services

[accessed 7 Aug  2013]

Street Walk is a Youth Off The Streets Outreach Program that engages with at risk and homeless young people on the inner city streets of Sydney.  Street Walk staff and volunteers provide a night time presence Sunday through to Thursday, making contact with and building trust with the young people on the streets. The program assists young people with accessing relevant services including drug and alcohol treatment, counselling, accommodation and education programs.

The young people who come into contact with the Street Walk program are either chronically homeless or at risk of homelessness and often struggling with an alcohol or other drug dependence. The young people are between the ages of 13 and 22 and can be on the street for various reasons, from complete family breakdown to poor family relations resulting in a lack of belonging for the young person.

The Street Walk program is a core component of Youth Off The Streets. It makes vital contact and connections with young people living on the streets, providing them with support and alternatives to their situation at a grass roots level within their own environment. The Street Walk program also provides an element of safety for these young people, by having a trusted adult out on the streets and referring and transporting young people to safe places.

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, "Street Children - Australia",, [accessed <date>]