Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris issued the following statement to mark the 19th Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week, March 6-12, 2017:
“In my 32 years with the RCMP, some of the most memorable, frustrating and heartbreaking investigations involved the abuse of children and young people. This week is a reminder that each of us – not just first responders, teachers and community leaders, but everyone – can help to prevent human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and youth.
“In the days ahead, community events, workshops and presentations throughout B.C. will foster vital conversations and help communities to develop better prevention, education, enforcement and other ways to intervene and protect our kids. There’s never been a more important time to talk to our young people – in particular, about safe Internet use and online dangers. Our kids need to know that online ‘friends’ are still strangers, and that they should tell a trusted adult anytime they think someone may be trying to lure or harm them.
“That said, I don’t agree with the vigilantism and shaming approaches that some groups have taken up. They don’t protect children. They may well put themselves in danger. They can compromise active police investigations. And if you do take the law into your own hands, you run the risk of being investigated for a criminal offence or breaking privacy laws. In fact, the privacy commissioner is now investigating one group.
“It’s far better to let police conduct these kinds of investigations and gather the evidence needed to support charges. In B.C., we have dedicated experts like the RCMP’s Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, which works with officers across Canada to stop predators. Again, I’d encourage you to report any circumstances that concern you to the police.”