VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s a disturbing find: More kids than ever are being sexually exploited in travel and tourism globally and in Canada.
An international group committed to ending the abuse has put together a report, looking at trends around the world, and in several specific regions.
End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) finds kids in North America are becoming victims at a younger age. The group notes lots of abuse goes unreported, so there isn’t a lot of reliable data.
Thanks to the Internet, exploitation has largely moved off the street and onto the web.
“The take-away generally is it’s a serious problem, there hasn’t been sufficient focus on it, it hasn’t been given sufficient priority and we really need to address it, give it a higher priority than we have been,” says David Matas with Beyond Borders Canada.
Matas points to one major issue:
“There’s a problem of access to the registry. I mean the registry’s not public. The police can look at it, but for instance, the Canada Border Services Agency can’t look at it — which is such a pretty obvious miss.”
While many predators are leaving Canada for places like Latin America and the Caribbean, lots are also coming here — Montreal is named as a particular hotspot due to its proximity to the US and because it hosts lots of sporting and cultural events.
The report finds First Nations kids are at particular risk in both the US and Canada. It says in our country, up to 90 per cent of kids who have been exploited in some cities are Aboriginal.
Recommendations include doing something about a lack of data and addressing the increasing use of private accommodations for exploitation.