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Street Team, More Routes Out of Exploitation Prevention, Offender Accountability are Keys: Mackintosh

December 10, 2008

Joined by police, service agencies and Aboriginal organizations, the province is launching Phase 2 of a sexual exploitation strategy called Tracia's Trust in honour of Tracia Owen, Family Services and Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.

"The recent summit of front-line workers on sexual exploitation, recommended in the Tracia Owen inquest report, emphasized the need to build on Manitoba's 2002 strategy by co-ordinating and expanding the diverse services developed, introducing more awareness and prevention initiatives and making offenders more accountable," said Mackintosh. "Here we go."

The strategy, which will be monitored and further developed by a new stakeholder task force and departmental unit over the next two years includes:

StreetReach - A Winnipeg co-ordinated and more integrated effort to:

  1. help youth escape exploitation;
  2. help prevent high-risk runaways from becoming exploited; and
  3. better identify predators, prostitution and drug houses.

StreetReach will co-ordinate the outreach efforts of more than a dozen organizations including police, agency outreach workers, child and family service (CFS) runaways or missing children workers and CFS intake. Six new positions will support its work.

StreetReach North - A new community outreach co-ordinator will link stakeholders and RCMP, focusing more on runaways, training for RCMP officers on sexual exploitation and a Northern Forum to help in mobilizing communities and establishing grandmother councils.

Routes Out - Eight exit programs will be created or strengthened:

  • a safe rural healing lodge to stabilize and heal the most entrenched youth;
  • a Trafficked Persons Response Team with police, border services, labour and immigration staff, and service providers for a victim-support network;
  • Project: Under the Radar to co-ordinate and enhance resources for sexually exploited males;
  • an exploited youth mentoring program to be kept alive with provincial funding;
  • a prostitution diversion camp enhanced with help for obtaining personal identification, housing and addictions treatment;
  • a child victim centre for one-stop justice, medical, child-welfare and mental-health services for victims of child abuse;
  • experiential training, based on a one-year pilot, to continue this year with provincial funding so that formerly involved women can help youth get out and stay out of exploitation; and
  • police, foster parent, child welfare and addictions worker training so that exploited youth get needed help.

Prevention - Five programs will help stop vulnerable youth from becoming exploited:

  • a 12-bed supportive home for youth most at risk of exploitation;
  • a buddy program funding based on an initiative already piloted for vulnerable new arrivals from remote communities;
  • testing and implementing initially in child-care centres of Commit to Kids to help prevent victimization by volunteers or employees;
  • an End the Silence strategy to strengthen community action on incest; and
  • a school program called The Lodge Teachings supported with provincial funding.

New Public Awareness - Comprising three campaigns:

  • the annual Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Week;
  • the website; and
  • Child Pornography Is Child Abuse.

Greater Offender Accountability - Six strategies will better disrupt the market for exploitation:

  • A specialized prosecution co-ordinator to strengthen case outcomes;
  • Canada's first talent industry law to protect children from sexual exploitation including exploitive modelling;
  • Mandatory reporting of child pornography - another Canadian first - to increase police and CFS interventions;
  • a new CFS prosecution strategy through an effort between police and child welfare to target predators who harbour runaways or otherwise interfere with children in care;
  • North America's strongest prostitution offender program (John School) offering 10 weekly followup sessions, a new community service component and 33 per cent higher program fees; and
  • a multilingual Reality Check campaign translated into nine languages to enhance the straight talk to predators about their impact.