No segment of our society is immune to sexual exploitation. Parents must be vigilant in protecting their children. Youth from a wide range of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds are targeted and recruited into the sex trade.
The police in Canada are seeing a marked increase in children and youth being forced into prostitution. Runaways and troubled teens are the most vulnerable.
Common factors amongst youth at risk are:
- lack of self-esteem;
- being a victim of abuse (i.e. sexual, physical, or emotion abuse);
- lack of a sense of belonging; and
- lack of independence.
One of the most distinctive differences between female and male youth sexual exploitation is that females who work on the street are more likely to be controlled by a pimp. However, this is not the case for all female youth. Usually, male youth operate independently.
To recruit a child or a youth into prostitution, a pimp will try to replace the family. In so doing, pimps portray themselves as loving and non-judgmental.
Their recruiting can take place in many locations such as:
- school grounds;
- corner store near a school;
- bus loops and Skytrain stations;
- coffee shops;
- teen social functions outside the school; and
- on the street.
There are specific signs which indicate that your child is being targeted by a pimp:
- withdraws physically and emotionally from the family;
- extreme mood swings;
- won’t talk to you and will act like you’re not in the room;
- confrontational, aggressive, abusive behaviour or swearing;
- unexplained money;
- bringing home new clothing and they can’t explain where it came from;
- packing changes of clothing when they are going out;
- using and possessing drugs;
- asking for a pager or cellular phone;
- matchbook covers found hidden in their room with telephone numbers written on the inside;
- business cards found in their room which are unusual for your child to possess;
- phone calls from strangers at odd hours of the day and night asking to speak to your child; and
- condom packages found in your child’s room.
If you feel that your child is being sexually exploited, you should telephone the Port Moody Police Department at 604-461-3456. We will investigate the matter and refer you to other support agencies.
You may wish to go to this website and examine the various articles on sexual exploitation –
SafeCanada – Sexual Expoloitation.