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How to stay safe and aware of the dangers of exploitation


What is sexual exploitation?

Updated: Jul 26, 2018

Some people may believe that prostitution is all about partying, having fun and making money.

The Truth - Prostitution is sexual exploitation.

It's nothing like the glamorous lifestyle you see in the movies or on television.

Most youth involved in prostitution never get to see any of the money they make, are often exposed to violence, forced to have unprotected sex which leads to STIs and pregnancy, and may even end up dead.

Sexual exploitation of children and youth under the age of 18 years is any type of sexual activity with children and youth in exchange for money, drugs, food, shelter or any other considerations. This is the case whether or not children or youth consider themselves to be consenting. Sexual exploitation of children and youth is never considered prostitution or consensual.

Photo: @FixersUK on Flickr

It is sexual exploitation when children and youth:

• Are sexually abused by adults

• Provide sex for a place to sleep, a meal or a ride

• Trade sexual activities in exchange for money, drugs, alcohol, gifts, services, or other items

• Are sexually trafficked

• Are seduced, manipulated or coerced to take sexual pictures/videos of themselves (i.e., child pornography) that can be sent over the internet

Some youth feel they are not being exploited, and that they have chosen to exchange sexual acts for resources. But sexual exploitation is not employment or a chosen occupation; it is a form of sexual abuse. Preventing Crime. Building Safe Communities. 3 Age of consent – 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, whether or not the young person appears willing to participate.

Distribution of Child Pornography – In the Criminal Code, sec 163.1, every person who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells, advertises, imports, exports or possesses for the purpose of transmission, making available, distribution, sale, advertising or exportation any child pornography is guilty of distributing child pornography. This offense can include teens under the age of 18 sending sexual, nude or semi-nude photos of themselves through text messaging programs, also known as “sexting.”

Over 75 per cent of people working in the sex trade in Canada began working as a child

"Strolling Away", Susan McIntyre, PhD

Pimps and Recruiters

Recruiters are people who seek out and bring youth into prostitution. Pimps are people who make money by sexually exploiting youth through prostitution. A pimp can also be a recruiter.

Pimps and recruiters can be anyone, guys or girls. They may pretend to be boyfriends or friends and will try to lure you into prostitution with lies, false promises and drugs. Recruiters will look for new victims in places like malls, parties and even schools.

Drugs are Never Free

Recruiters will supply you with drugs until you become addicted and are dependent on them. Eventually you will be expected to pay them back. That can mean being forced to provide sexual services to hundreds of strangers.

Don't Even Try it Once

Many teens have fallen victim to prostitution because they needed fast cash, are lured by promises of new clothes, alcohol and drugs. Others run away from bad situations and end up trading sex to survive. Some are feeling confused about their sexual identity or orientation and become involved in prostitution. They thought there would be no harm in doing it just once. But once in, it is extremely difficult to get out. Although they want to leave, some youth never make it out alive. Sexually exploited youth live in constant fear. They are victims of many forms of abuse and violence.

All information provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Victim Services & Crime Prevention of British Columbia and Alberta Human Services