Prevention of Sexual Exploitation of Youth

Alarming Statistics: One Out of Three Runaways is a Victim of Exploitation.

Every year on average, there are over 5,000 cases of missing children reported to law enforcement in Quebec. Runaways account for nearly 90% of all these cases and involve youth between the ages of 12-17. The reasons why youth run away are complex, but are generally associated with them attempting to gain some control over their lives. While most runaways return home within a few days, a smaller number of youth may spend periods of time on the street, in shelters or other unfamiliar environments.

Youth become vulnerable as soon as they leave home – potentially falling victim to substance abuse, theft, crime, homelessness and sexual exploitation. Child sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of minors and involves youth being manipulated into exchanging sexual favours for money, shelter, clothing, drugs, food, transportation, love or acceptance.

The sexual exploitation of teens can take many forms: prostitution, pornography, stripping, dancing topless, escort services and erotic massages. It is important to note that all forms of sexual exploitation are illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada and should be reported immediately.

Victims can be of any age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic background or religion. Exploiters target and prey on the vulnerability of young people and groom them by gaining their trust and promising a better and more glamorous life.

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