The week of March 9 – 15, 2015 has been declared Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Week by Quesnel City Council which coincides with awareness weeks across B.C.
The week recognizes the importance of supporting communities to develop prevention, education, enforcement and intervention strategies to address the sexual exploitation of children and youth.
In Quesnel the Quesnel Human Trafficking, Knowledge, Prevention and Support Committee will be in Spirit Square, March 9, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. where they will be handing out fuchsia ribbons and information on this critical social issue.
And for those who don’t realize this is happening right in their own community, just ask any member of the committee and they’ll help you understand B.C., the Cariboo and right here in Quesnel this crime exists.
Sexual exploitation occurs when youth under age 19 trade sexual activities in exchange for resources, like money, drugs, gifts, food, services, shelter, transportation or anything similar. This can include commercial sex work in brothels or for escort services, pornography and internet sex, but it also includes what some people call “survival sex” or providing sex for a place to sleep or for a meal or for a ride.
The committee is an action-oriented team which was formed by frontline service providers in Quesnel that had received training from the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, a division of the Department of Justice and meet monthly to discuss strategies to educate the community and discuss prevention with vulnerable youth as to the tactics used to entice them into sexual exploitation or situations where that is more likely to happen. A study conducted by McCreary Centre Society in cities across British Columbia between 2000 and 2006 studies the responses of 1,845 youth who participated in five different youth health surveys. Three of the surveys were with street-involved and marginalized youth in 10 different cities and two were among youth in custody centres located throughout the province.
The surveys took place in the daytime and the evenings, but not late at night, so sexually exploited youth who are only out on the streets late at night would have been missed.
Similarly, the surveys only took place in public places or youth service settings thus missing youth in closed businesses such as massage parlours and strip clubs. Teems trafficked from other countries, for a variety of reasons, language, no legal documents among others, may also not have been included in the surveys.
Sexual exploitation doesn’t just happen on the streets, or among homeless youth. Because it is illegal, sexual exploitation is often hidden and some youth who are exploited may be extremely hard to reach.
Nevertheless the survey provided revealing facts about those who participated. Here are just a few of the facts. More than one in three street-involved and marginalized youth have been sexually exploited, as have one in five youth in custody. Males were just a likely to be sexually exploited as females.
Among street-involved youth as well as youth in custody, gay, lesbian and bisexual teens were more likely to have been sexually exploited that their heterosexual peers. Fewer than half of sexually exploited street-involved youth identified as heterosexual. For complete survey results visit It’s not what you think: Sexually exploited youth in B.C.
Drop by Spirit Square, pick up a fuchsia ribbon, learn more about how to prevent sexual
ultimately stop existing sexual exploitation of children and youth.