The Truth About Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation

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What is sexual exploitation?

Sexual exploitation is a form of human trafficking and sexual abuse, and it’s happening here in BC.

Between 2014 and 2020, Cybertip.ca processed over 4.3 million child sexual exploitation reports. [1]

Since many cases are never reported, the true number is likely much higher.

3,400,000

sexual exploitation reports processed from 2014-2020
Sexual exploitation can involve performing sexual acts or sharing sexual images in exchange for things.
These things may be physical or emotional:
  • Money
  • Love
  • Shelter
  • Rides
  • Acceptance
  • Safety
  • Food
  • Drugs and alcohol
Sexual exploitation can affect ANY person, regardless of:
  • Ability
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Family income

Online sexual exploitation is on the rise.

Between 2020 and 2021 Cybertip.ca reported 645 incidents of exploiters attempting to lure children and youth online.[2] Of these incidents:

  • 25% involved victims between 7 and 13 years old
  • 48% involved victims between 14 and 17 years old
  • 57% percent of incidents occurred on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Discord

Other Facts About Sexual Exploitation

It’s not only girls who are at risk. Almost one third of sexually exploited youth are male or transgender.

Up to half of sexually exploited youth identify as Indigenous. (30 – 50%)

99% of teens have access to the internet outside of school. [3]

Nearly 25% of parents report seeing inappropriate behaviour aimed at their child through an online medium. Yet almost 50% of parents report having never spoken to their child about sextortion. [3]

Image Sharing

Sexual exploitation also includes taking, sending, and keeping nude or sexualized images of children and youth. These types of images and videos are Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). This often happens between youth, such as in peer-to-peer sexting. It can also happen through sexual solicitations from online exploiters.

Exploitation During the Pandemic

In 2021, Statistics Canada crime data showed:

  • An 89% increase* in reports of making and distribution of CSAM
  • A 48% increase* in reports of possession or accessing of CSAM
  • A 37% increase* in incidents of children being lured into sexual acts over a computer
  • An 80% increase* in reports of non-consensual distribution of sensitive images of children and youth.

*compared to the previous 5-year average. [4]

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the average amount of time that youth are spending online.

Between April and September 2021, Cybertip.ca reported a 62% increase in online youth sextortion. Boys ages 15-17 made up the largest proportion of targeted youth.[5]


About Children of the Street

Children of the Street is dedicated to preventing the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children and youth in British Columbia. We achieve this goal through education strategies, public awareness initiatives, and family support. Children of the Street is a program of PLEA Community Services Society of BC.

We acknowledge that we work, live and play on the unseeded territories of the Kwiketlem, Tseil-Waututh, Sto:lo and Qayqayt peoples.

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