Key facts on Children of the Street
- Children of the Street – a program of PLEA Community Services Society of BC – is dedicated to preventing the sexual exploitation of children and youth in British Columbia.
- Founded in 1995, Children of the Street works collaboratively with all levels of government, law enforcement and other non-profit partners to protect young people, support families and offer free workshops for children, youth and adults on how to recognize the signs and take action to prevent sexual exploitation.
- It is the longest-running program of its kind in BC.
- Last year, we facilitated over 500 free workshops in 30 B.C. communities which reached more than 25,000 participants.
Key facts about child/youth sexual exploitation
- Sexual exploitation is when a young person under the age of 18 trades sex or sexual favours for something in return. Most people think this trade occurs for money, drugs or alcohol, or for necessities such as shelter or food. While this is often true, exploiters look for vulnerabilities they can take advantage of or gaps they can fill, and this includes forcing or manipulating young people to trade sex or sexual favours for things like love, acceptance, attention, or to keep a relationship on which they have come to rely.
- Online exploitation is booming due to COVID-19. In May 2022, Statistics Canada reported a staggering increase in online child sexual exploitation/abuse. Other law enforcement and child advocacy agencies – such as the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, RCMP, the UN and the FBI – have reported similar findings.
- In February 2021, the United Nations shared the startling fact that on any given day, 750,000 individuals are online looking to connect with a child for sexual purposes.
- A 2020 survey from Public Safety Canada found that while most Canadian caregivers have great concern for their child’s safety online, only few of them consider it to be a problem happening in their community (12%), and less than half are actively safeguarding their child against online exploitation.