The Japanese military occupied New Guinea between 1942 and 1945 and established military brothels there, but whether or not New Guinean women were sexually enslaved is unknown.

  • Project dates: 2017
  • Funding : ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2017

Trafficked Asian women are recorded victims, but historians note only anecdotal evidence of local comfort women. Today, a PNG-based civic group lobbies for Japanese recognition of historical sexual slavery in New Guinea, but receives no response. The project explores whether a response is justified on the basis of the archival records of Australia’s postwar administration of New Guinea, as well as Japanese occupation-period military documents. Its exploration is pursued through an English-language monograph as well as English- and Japanese-language articles.

Key People

Lead researcher

Dr Caroline Norma

Dr Caroline Norma

Research Fellow, Global, Urban and Social Studies

View profile

Related Content

Research Programs

Conflict, Peacebuilding and Security

The study of Conflict, Peace-building and Security reveals not only what causes conflict and how it is constantly changing, but also how innovative new approaches can help communities prevent, overcome and recover from conflict.

Find out more

Gendered Violence & Inequality

Members of the Gendered Violence & Inequality research program actively engage with the challenges society faces in addressing gender-based inequality, discrimination and interpersonal violence.

Find out more