News

Desperate youths trading sex for food and a bed

YOUNG people desperate to keep a roof over their heads are increasingly using sex to pay for accommodation, food and clothing, a veteran social worker says.

Integrated Family and Youth Service CEO Paul Morton told a Sunshine Coast youth unemployment summit this week that many young people had been priced out of accommodation in Queensland regional areas.

Mr Morton said the young were being forced into opportunistic and full-time prostitution.

He said the lack of crisis accommodation, particularly for young people, meant they were "couch surfing" and often paying their way through casual sex.

It was not only young women selling themselves but also young men.

Are you shocked to hear that young people are using sex to pay for accommodation, food and clothing?

This poll ended on 16 November 2013.

Yes! I never would have imagined this was happening on the Coast - 28%

No. Unfortunately this is just how the world works for some people - 64%

I don't think this is the case at all on the Coast - 6%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The long-term impact included mental illness, self-harm, suicide, and relationship breakdowns.

"There have now been a number of reports that have shown a clear correlation between increasing poverty and unemployment and young people using sex as a form of currency,'' Mr Morton said.

"Sex is often used to buy basic needs.

"It is known that this form of currency can have a long-term psychological and emotional effect.''

Mr Morton estimated there would be hundreds on the Sunshine Coast in this situation.

He said the problem extended to university students and single mothers going into prostitution.

Mr Morton, who has 28 years' experience in community work, most of those on the Coast, said there were only 12 crisis beds for young people here - a number which had not grown in years.

While in the past crisis services had been able to put young people in tents and caravans and shared accommodation, he said cheaper accommodation options no longer existed here.

The summit, put on by the Sunshine Coast Business Council and supported by the Daily, heard that young unemployed people without parental or family support were forced to live on $29 a day - significantly below the poverty line.

Mr Morton asked those attending the forum to imagine what it would be like to literally have no family to fall back on, whether through death, imprisonment or abuse.

One youth told him recently he had never known not being in the care of the state after having 42 placements in 16 years.

Mr Morton said youths were resorting to crime because they felt they had no other options.

Some have told him they preferred being locked up because at least they were guaranteed a place to sleep, food and TV.

He called for more funding and programs to work with young people rather than just sending them to jail.

Mr Morton said it cost about $250,000 a year to keep someone under 17 in custody.

It would make more sense to pay troubled youths $100 a day to work under supervised programs.

ADDING UP THE COSTS

$10.6 billion: cost of mental illness among 12-25-year-olds in Australia

$8 billion: cost of illicit drug abuse nationally each year

$3.2 billion: cost of prisons in Australia - about $80,000 to $100,000 for each prisoner - for young people, $250,000 a year

$36 billion: cost of alcohol related assaults in Australia

Source: IFYS presentation,

Sunshine Coast Business Council Youth Prosperity summit

Topics:  editors picks homelessness prostitution sex welfare youth unemployment



"Eco-cretins" sabotage shark nets, risk swimmers' lives

A blacktip shark caught in a shark net at the end of last year.

Since 2015, there have been 22 shark attacks in New South Wales.

Best hotel in the world found in Cabarita

FIRST CLASS: Cabarita Beach's Halcyon House has taken out the top gong for best hotel in the world.

Halcyon House named best hotel.

Driver gets jail after pursuit ends in flames on the M1

YOU'RE FIRED: A car burns on Pacific Motorway at Wooyung after police deployed road spikes to end a pursuit that began at South Grafton.

Jail time for teen who led police on car chase.

Local Partners

50 Shades actress on why she hates the film

Dornan and Johnson’s frequent sex scenes were ‘awkward’ to film. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Jamie Dornan doesn’t blame you for hating 50 Shades

Chris Hemsworth’s X-rated compliment to former co-star

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth poses on the red carpet for the European premiere of the film 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in London on April 21, 2015.

THOR star once paid former Home and Away actress a lewd compliment.

'I can't keep my mouth shut any longer'

Singer George Michael.

George Michael’s cousin blasts singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Sarah Harris: Here’s what Amber Sherlock should’ve done

Studio 10 and Shark Tank presenter Sarah Harris.

STUDIO 10 host says Sherlock could’ve avoided the subsequent uproar.

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ocean views of Coolangatta

1405/3 McLean Street, Coolangatta

Check out this week's feature property.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Which Northern Rivers towns boomed in 2016?

BOOM TOWNS: While Ballina properties continued to attract top dollar in 2016, it was areas to the south that experienced price hikes, including Wardell, Evans Head and Woodburn.

Click on our map to find the median sale price in your town

Expansion plan pays off

Mark Stapleton, Sharon Styman and Peter Ross from Investrent Property Management are going from strength to strength after opening an office in Murwillumbah.

Murwillumbah move a winner for property management team

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!