Theme: Sexual exploitation / Girls aged 14–20 / Action research through focus groups, a working committee and strategic actions in high schools / Funded by Status of Women Canada / Partners: Calixa-Lavallée High School, La Voie High School, Marie-Victorin School Board, Concertation des luttes contre
l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES), Comité d’action contre la traite humaine interne et internationale (CATHII), RÉSAL – Réseau d’échange et de soutien aux actions locales, Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, Prévention CDN-NDG, Trêve pour elles (Centre d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel), and Beacon of the Freed.
The aim of Working Together Against Sexual Violence is to analyze institutional barriers that prevent girls aged 14–20 years from avoiding sexual exploitation and at-risk environments. The goal is also to mobilize partners to bring about institutional changes in schools and communities to combat the sexual exploitation of girls and young
Although any adult or child, regardless of their gender, may become a victim of sexual exploitation,2 of the 40 to 42 million people around the world who were involved in the sex trade in 2011, nearly 80% were women and girls (Fondation Scelles, 2012). In 2016, the tragic situation of girls fleeing youth centres to join sexual exploitation networks caused the media to draw public attention to a phenomenon of which community and public agencies have long been aware. Why does child sexual exploitation exist, and, more to the point, what are the factors that facilitate the sexual exploitation of girls?
In answer to the last question, this study sought to shine a light on obstacles and barriers to preventing the sexual exploitation of girls in the Greater Montréal area. Our aim is to contribute to efforts already underway by institutions and community groups to protect girls from this scourge. To this end, we identified obstacles at various levels, including within our society, the government, schools, the community sector, and in different youth-related contexts.