The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Trafficking in persons: global patterns lists Australia as one of 21 trafficking destination countries in the high destination category.

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In the remaining states of Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, despite intense debate and many proposed legislative reforms there has been no change in the laws.

The Australian Capital Territory adopted partial decriminalisation in 1992, and the Northern Territory allowed partial decriminalisation in 1992.

The late colonial period viewed prostitution as a public health issue, through the Contagious Diseases Acts.

Since Federation in 1901, the emphasis has been on criminalising activities associated with prostitution.

But criminal law relating to prostitution only dates from around 1910.

These laws did not make the act of prostitution illegal but did criminalise many activities related to prostitution.In all jurisdictions the issue remains divisive, and in the three eastern states with regulated sex work there has been intermittent review.Much of the information in this article concerns heterosexual, not homosexual, sex work.Health and safety regulations and peer education have been effective at keeping STIs in the sex worker population at a low level, similar to the general population, and comparable amongst the states (Maginn 2013).Although there had been claims that sex workers were responsible for STI levels in mining communities, subsequent research has shown this not to be true.A May 1990 Australian Institute of Criminology report recommended that prostitution not be a criminal offence, since the laws were ineffective and endangered sex workers.