Sex Industry

What are your thoughts on women who are working in the sex industry?

Maybe it's something you've never thought about? Perhaps it's something that's too hard to think about? 

Park your thoughts for a minute, and place yourself in the shoes of a woman who may work in street-based sex work or a lower end brothel.

If you're working on the street, you have likely experienced financial hardship, a history of trauma, domestic violence or drug dependence, and unstable accommodation or homelessness.

Or if you work in a lower-end brothel, you may have travelled from overseas to find work. Being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, you have trouble accessing traditional support services due to language barriers or your visa status.

Work on the street means life is often chaotic. If you’re working in a low-end brothel, it's often dark, small and cramped. Both options can be dangerous and one thing is for sure, you can often feel isolated and vulnerable.

Regardless of the circumstances or barriers these women face, the stigma and stereotypes that society has about sex work often leads to the women facing social isolation or discrimination. This can further compound their disadvantage or marginalisation.

Our Women's Spaces are welcoming spaces that operate as a day refuge, with showers, laundry facilities, emergency food and toiletries, as well as lounge spaces and dining.

BaptistCare HopeStreet Women’s Services is about increasing a woman’s sense of belonging, as well as using their professional skill sets to increase their choices and increase their safety, health and wellbeing.

On Tuesday 3 December leading not-for-profit care organisation BaptistCare HopeStreet released the findings from its Women’s Services division’s first research report on Sydney’s sex industry, providing insights into the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women working in the city’s lower-end brothels. Read the report and learn more.

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What we do

Women’s Space

Our Women’s Space is a welcoming drop in space that operates as a day-refuge, with showers, laundry facilities, emergency food and toiletries as well as lounge spaces and dining. The welcoming space also hosts life-skills workshops and has rooms for one on one support

HopeStreet Locations this service is offered: Darlinghurst

Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD)

Our CALD program is for sex workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who work in brothels. We have staff who speak fluent Mandarin, Cantonese and Thai, as well as translation services available. We offer visa and immigration support, community events, ESL classes, counselling, advocacy, outreach and case management.

HopeStreet Locations this service is offered: Darlinghurst & St Marys

Women's Services

Women’s Services exists to increase belonging, safety and choice for women facing challenges and at risk of marginalisation in Sydney, including women involved in the sex industry, women facing domestic violence, and women experiencing complex circumstances such as homelessness, mental illness and addiction.

Our Women’s Services team includes counsellors and case workers, who specialize in supporting women and transgender women in domestic violence situations.

Services Provided

  • Case Management
  • Counselling
  • Advocacy
  • Assistance accessing health and government services
  • Social and housing support
  • Word Development Order (WDO) sponsorship
  • Health promotion
  • Workshops and English classes

HopeStreet Locations this service is offered: Darlinghurst & St Marys

Exit Pathways

We provide exit pathways for women wanting to exit the sex industry. This includes scholarship options for training and guaranteed part time employment.

HopeStreet Locations this service is offered: Darlinghurst

A migrant sex worker’s experience in Sydney’s sex industry

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There are many reasons why women enter the sex industry

but for many women, especially those who are involved with street-based sex work, diminished choice is a huge issue. We seek to connect these women with our community, let them know they are supported where they are at, and create opportunities for greater choice.  

For the women working in low-end brothels, our experience tells us that they have often left their home country in search of gaining financial freedom, but a lack of language skills, uncertain visa status and isolation often means they are at greater risk of exploitation. That’s why we have staff that speak different languages, have translated resources and create cultural events for women to find community with others.  

We genuinely want the women we work with to know that they belong and they have an environment where they can strengthen the skills and abilities they already have. We want to provide greater opportunity to them, and a space where they know someone is always there.

We desire for all women to experience independence and empowerment, and to share that with others through their own personal sense of generosity. Women deserve to have choice and opportunity, free from stigma and judgement.

Is this big? Yes. Do we have hope? Absolutely.