Province marks 20 years trying to stop sexual exploitation of youth and children

March 5 to 11 is Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week in B.C.

March 5 to 11 marks the 20th annual Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week in B.C.

The province identifies sexual exploitation youth under the age of 18 as any type of sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, food, shelter or any other considerations. This is the case whether or not the child or youth considers themselves to be consenting.

In Canada, under the Criminal Code, it is a crime for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16. The average age when youth are first exploited (male or female) is 13 to 15 years old, according to the May 2008 report, It’s Not What Youth Think: Sexually Exploited Youth in British Columbia. Lesbian, gay and bi-sexual youth and those who have been kicked out or run away are at higher risk.

“The issue of child exploitation affects every community,” says Ray Bernoties, deputy chief, Oak Bay Police Department. “On-line exploitation has made this even more challenging for parents as even when you think your child is safely upstairs, they could be being exploited.”

Online exploitation can also take several forms including youth making and distributing sexual images of themselves, peers or sexual partners, being encouraged to post explicit images, lured into sexually exploitative situations through chat rooms and social networking sites.

“Having the computer in an open area in the house is a good idea,” Bernoties said. “Parents need to have difficult discussions with their kids in a non-judgemental fashion. I can tell you from years of policing, if someone thinks they’re going to be judged, they won’t tell you anything.”

Stopping the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth is part of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Crime Prevention Information Series. It helps service providers, parents, guardians, teachers and others protect children and youth from sexual exploitation or leave exploitative situations.

“If kids don’t learn about sexual exploitation from their parents, they’ll learn it from somebody, and that’s frightening,” Bernoties said.

VictimLinkBC is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-563-0808. It provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence, including victims of human trafficking exploited for labour or sexual services.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Just Posted

McClure house fire saw Victoria firefighters utilize drone for first time in live situation

Aerial device feeds intel to crews to help formulate firefighting action plans

Homes are barge-bound for second chance

San Juan Community Home Trust and Nickel Bros. give homes new life

UVic announces finalists for Female Athlete of the Year

Rower Caileigh Filmer, swimmer Danielle Hanus, and soccer goalie Puck Louwes are top stand-outs

Jazz songstress Ellen Doty brings her sweet sound to Hermann’s Jazz Club

March 27 concert in Victoria part of national CD release tour

Victoria says #NeverAgain in solidarity with March For Our Lives

Youth Political Commons invites public to rally against gun violence March 24 at legislature

Student learns the ropes at Oak Bay fire in hands-on experience

Local department crafts four-day work experience program for Reynolds student

Passenger added to Vancouver Island MusicFest lineup

Scheduled to play the main stage Saturday evening

Heavy ice off Canada coast strands pod of dolphins, fixating small town

The small Newfoundland community, Heart’s Delight, is fixated on plight of trapped dolphins

Foreign election interference a reality, says Trudeau after Putin re-election

Trudeau said the heavy use of social media and interference by foreign actors are the new reality in elections.

Canadians joining #DeleteFacebook amid fears of electoral meddling

Privacy experts say numerous Canadians are taking to other social media platforms to join in on the #DeleteFacebook hashtag

Schools close as spring snow storm tracks toward Maritime provinces

Schools are closing across the Maritime provinces as a spring snow storm tracks towards the region.

Son of late Canadian professor fights for mother’s release from Iran

Mehran Seyed-Emami’s father, an Iranian-Canadian professor, died in an Iranian jail after being accused of spying.

Deadly crash raises questions about Uber self-driving system

The fatality prompted Uber to suspend all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto

Better pre-hospital care in rural B.C. could save lives AND money

The yearly cost of injury exceeds $2.8 billion according to Provincial Health Services Authority.

Most Read