Project Respect is a support and referral service for women in the sex industry, including those who have experienced trafficking. A caring, non-judgmental community, we are open to all women in the industry.
To support women, Project Respect works in the following ways:
We assist women and help them access essential services:
We assist women and help them access essential services such as healthcare and legal representation. We support women in making police reports, gaining child custody, to access education opportunities or even applying for jobs in a new industry. While many community organisations become targeted, offering just one service, Project Respect remains broad. At the centre of our support work is regular outreach, where we visit brothels in Victoria. We do this so women know we are available to them - without judgement - should they need us.
Our direct support staff go above and beyond, with deep care and compassion for the people they assist, because we don't have waiting lists or exit dates. Project Respect is unconventional, because we don't take 'clients'. Instead we build relationships with women. Project Respect is alternative, because we welcome all women. Regardless of how they experience or think about the sex industry, we work with them. We stand alongside them, for as long as they need.
Project Respect plays a unique role in connecting women to essential services. The services industry is complex and overloaded, so we make it our job to stand alongside women, guide them through and provide referrals. To enable this, we work with other agencies to develop and build their capacity to offer assistance without prejudice. Sadly and unjustly, women in the sex industry can experience discrimination, even from those there to assist them. This can make women fearful and reluctant to seek help. Because we are a connector, we rely on other services to provide housing, or income support, or employment. But what we can, and always give, is our non-judgemental emotional support. Human connection. Compassion, and respect.
We advocate for women’s rights against violence, trafficking and exploitation.
To improve life for women who have experienced trafficking for sexual exploitation and women in the sex industry, we must improve the status of women overall. That’s why we work directly with all levels of government, lobbying for broad policy change. We argue for better conditions for women who are trafficked to Australia, and women while they are in the sex industry. We argue against the trafficking of women. We help expose violence against women, and push for solutions to eradicate it. In all of this work, we ensure women’s voices are heard. We offer women a platform to write, speak and meet directly with decision makers. We know that their voices and leadership will create the positive change we seek.
While we will always support women directly, we know that the best outcome is a world free from sexual exploitation - a world without need for our support. To realise this vision, we need broader social change. Over the past two decades, Project Respect has led the way on the issue of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Our research and lobbying efforts saw the issue recognised in anti-trafficking legislation. We have pushed for better support for survivors of trafficking, including access to compensation, and court processes to make testifying easier. We've co-developed world first principles of practice for working with survivors of trafficking with a global network of services. More, we advocate on behalf of women experiencing violence in the industry, and outside it, including Family Violence. In all our work, we provide women with a platform to share their stories - so silenced voices can be heard.
At Project Respect, we believe that all women have the right to feel safe and respected. We are fundamentally for and about women's rights and needs. We are committed to doing what is needed to achieve a world free from sexual exploitation.
To contact us, please call on 9416 3401 or email us at [email protected]