Open Your Eyes to Sexual Exploitation
ADULTS: Change begins with your awareness – Know the facts!
Police agencies across Canada report growing incidences of child sexual exploitation, online and offline. All young people can be at risk if they are not educated and aware.
Sexual Exploitation is any attempt to use a position of power, authority or trust to compel a vulnerable person to take part in sexual activity. If one person gains sexual gratification, financial reward or social/political status through the abuse of another person’s sexuality, that is exploitation.
A child (defined as someone under age 18) is sexually exploited if he or she:
- is selling sex in exchange for money, food, shelter, drugs, transportation or anything else of value.
- is forced into sexual activity through violence or threats, or manipulated through bribes, lies or other means.
- is used in pornography.
- is “trafficked” – moved outside their familiar surroundings to be used for sexual purposes. Human trafficking is the third most profitable organized criminal activity after trafficking in drugs and small arms.
It’s against the law
Providing any form of payment in exchange for any sexual activity with someone under age 18 is not prostitution, it’s child sexual abuse. It is illegal because it is known to be damaging to the individual youth and to society.
- The Criminal Code of Canada makes it illegal to procure or solicit someone to engage in illicit sex with another person, (often called pimping). When convicted of “pimping” someone under age 18, the sentence can be much higher.
- Communicating with someone under age 18 for the purpose of obtaining sexual services is against the law in Canada. It is illegal to use a computer to lure a child to engage in sexual activities.
- A Canadian who travels to another country to engage in sex with underage youth can be charged in Canada.
It’s a violation of rights and international laws
Article 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Canada and almost every other country, clearly requires that States must protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
It happens every day in our communities
Sometimes sexual exploitation happens in plain view, on our streets. Or it flickers across the computer screen in pornographic images. Often, and especially when it involves children/youth, it is hidden. It happens in brothels, massage parlours, and in private homes. Gang houses called ‘trick pads’ are a primary venue for sexual exploitation.
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IS NOT INEVITABLE!
When we create a united front and say ‘no more’; when we educate ourselves and our children that they have a right to control their own bodies; when we teach them how to get help and make sure there are resources they can access, we have a good chance of reducing the sexual exploitation of children and youth.
PREVENTION EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO ENDING EXPLOITATION
The Canadian Red Cross offers programs for children, youth, adults and organizations. Young people learn about all forms of abuse, their rights to be healthy, safe and control their own bodies, and how to get help. Adults and organizations learn about abuse, exploitation, harassment and violence, why and how they happen and how to create safer environments and protect children.
Learn more about these programs and how to access them here.