British Columbians can wear fuchsia-coloured ribbons March 11-17 to help raise awareness and mark Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week, which was proclaimed today by the government of B.C.
The ribbons symbolize all efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth. Fuchsia is a combination of red, for red light districts, and purple, which is the provincial colour for violence prevention.
This annual event recognizes communities and organizations that are working hard to combat a serious and growing problem that is threatening the safety of children and young people throughout British Columbia. Government is committed to preventing the sexual exploitation of children and youth. In fact, just last week, a number of civil forfeiture grants were awarded to community groups in B.C. for that specific purpose, including:
- Youth Art Engagement Project. The Children of the Street Society will use its $25,000 grant to engage high-risk youth in Coquitlam between 11 and 18 years of age in creating art that increases the awareness of sexual exploitation and fosters youth leadership.
- Abbotsford Learns and Looks out for Youth (ALLY) focuses on community development, education and engagement and includes workshops, an awareness campaign, community working group, and resources for professionals. Abbotsford Community Services is receiving $23,000 for this program.
- Young Women's Wellness Program. This project addresses the need in Nanaimo's community for enhanced resources to deal with at-risk, Aboriginal females under the age of 21. The Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society is receiving nearly $14,000 to support this project.
- Girls United. The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society will use its $21,000 to provide a sexual exploitation prevention program designed to meet the developmental needs of at-risk girls age 12 to 17.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond -
"It's an offence under the Criminal Code to recruit or buy the sexual services of someone under 18 and raising awareness of this issue is really one of the best ways we can protect kids from living through that kind of horror."
"This week recognizes communities across B.C. that are doing just that. I commend them for working so hard to protect our youth and leading initiatives that help prevent sexual exploitation, and I encourage all British Columbians to wear fuchsia or a fuchsia ribbon in their honour."
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux -
"The sexual exploitation of children is an appalling crime that has grave, lifelong impacts on a young individual. Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week is an opportunity to tie together the need for awareness, prevention and action in combating sexual exploitation so kids can enjoy a happier childhood."
- Earlier this month, government announced 81 grants worth almost $1 million from civil forfeiture proceeds, of which seven will help projects directly related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Last November, government announced the availability of the grant funding and invited applications from schools, community groups and policing agencies.
- Active since April 2006, B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office counters the profit motive behind much unlawful activity. The office files civil court actions against property alleged to be a tool used to further unlawful activity or a proceed of it.
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development provides funding for a wide range of voluntary services that work to support at-risk and sexually exploited youth, including crisis counselling, safe housing, outreach, youth-parent mediation, life skills training and other important services.
- Children and youth are encouraged to call the Youth Against Violence Line toll-free at 1 800 680-4264 to report sexual exploitation and obtain information on services available in their community or VictimLink BC at 1 800 563-0808.
Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week: http://childrenofthestreet.com
Preventing Sexual Exploitation of Youth and Children: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/exploitation/index.htm
British Columbia Community Action Teams (CATs): http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/publications/docs/community-action-teams.pdf
B.C.'s Sexual Exploitation Toolkit is a one-stop resource for information about the commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth: http://host.jibc.ca/seytoolkit/index.htm
2012-13 Grants from Civil Forfeiture Proceeds http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/grants/index.htm
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice