Coquitlam, British Columbia
Public Safety Canada
Protecting Canadians, especially children and youth, from sexual exploitation on and offline is a priority the Government of Canada takes very seriously. The government is taking a leadership role in combatting this serious crime and is supporting the efforts of the Children of the Street Society (COS).
Today, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced $150,000 in federal funding over four years to support COS’ project: Keeping Kids Safe Online. These efforts will help develop and deliver over 300 educational workshops to over 5,300 young people and educate over 1,000 adults to raise awareness. The workshops will be primarily delivered in mainstream schools, and will include interactive and multi-media engagement. They will also present to youth in custody, teen parent groups, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, and Indigenous and LGBTQ2 youth groups. This will help these communities achieve their full potential.
Overall, COS’s project will give children and youth the information and practical tools they need to be safe online from predators. COS will also equip adults, such as parents, caregivers and educators, to give young people the skills they need to recognize sexual exploitation and prevent it from happening to themselves and others.
“Community organizations such as the Children of the Street Society are working with all members of the community to ensure we protect our kids and give them the knowledge and supports to reach their full potential. The anonymous nature of the internet has emboldened offenders to meet, groom and abuse victims online. Having the proper tools and systems in place ensures we are protecting the safety of our kids in the online world. It’s critical that victims and survivors have the support they need to recover and reclaim their lives.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
“All facets of sexual exploitation and human trafficking have moved online from recruitment to purchasing. That’s why we are so pleased to be able to deliver prevention workshops offering concrete tips for youth on how to stay safe online. We would not have been able to offer these workshops without the support from Public Safety Canada.”
– Diane Sowden, Executive Director, Children of the Street Society
The Children of the Street Society takes a proactive approach through public awareness, education, and early intervention strategies to prevent the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children and youth, while offering support to families.
Budget 2018 announced $5.8 million annually to enhance the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Centre investigation capacity.
Budget 2019 announced a further $22.24 million, over three years, for Public Safety to support efforts to raise awareness of this serious issue, and reduce the stigma associated with reporting.
Budget 2019 also announced the Government of Canada will develop a new whole-of-government strategy to combat human trafficking, to support victims, protect the most vulnerable and bring perpetrators to justice.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-833-900-1010) refers victims and survivors to local law enforcement, emergency shelters and a range of other trauma-informed services and support.