Talking to Children about Sex Work
Although it can be difficult to explain sex work to children, it creates an opportunity to arm them with knowledge. Be as open and honest as possible while encouraging your children to accept and respect sex workers as fellow human beings.
When children and youth are educated, they are far better equipped to avoid the risk of sexual exploitation. If you are worried about your child, you can talk to the school counsellors at your child’s school to get more support and information.
“Child Sexual Exploitation” refers to the sexual abuse of children and youth under the age of 18 through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money.
- Exploitation can occur at home, school, in public places like the mall, or online
- People who sexually exploit children and youth are usually friendly at first, older males & females or people known to the child/youth
What is Online Sexual Exploitation?
The use of online messaging, website recruiting scams, and online chats which sexually humiliate, manipulate or are harmful.
Can also include:
- Luring youth to another city or country
- Engaging in sexual activities online i.e. cybersex, home based stripping
- Sending, creating, or distributing sexual images of anyone under 18 including yourself
Some reasons given by youth for their entry into the sex trade include:
- family issues, being kicked out of the home
- someone in their family is involved in the sex trade
- influence of friends and peers
- attraction to the perceived glamour of street life
- to support themselves and/or their family
Here is a short video clip from Common Sense Media to help young people make smarter decisions online. The clip is only 3.21 minutes long, and features a group of young people helping other young people stay safe online. They provide 10 simple rules to “keep us safe and smart when we are online or using our cell phones.” The video is engaging, informative, visually appealing, and to the point. Common Sense Media has also provided a short video clip of “Rules of the Road for Parents in a Digital Age.” We suggest you watch both these video clips with the young people in your lives; they make a great conversation starter around the topic of our digital lives.
When to call 9-1-1:
- in an emergency, i.e. someone is in immediate danger or being threatened
- if you see someone in distress
- if you suspect someone underage is being exploited
In an emergency where anyone is threatened or there is a threat to property, call 9-1-1 immediately.
If you have a non-emergency concern about a sex worker’s presence, you can call:
- Collingwood Community Policing Centre: 604-717-2935
- Vancouver 3-1-1: For info and requests on city services such as mattress and garbage removal
- Needle Pickup Hotline: 604-657-6561
Sex worker organizations may already know the sex worker and be able to speak with them, if you are uncomfortable doing so.
See the “Living in Community” webpage for more resources.
Other Resources in your Neighbourhood
Collingwood Business Improvement Association:
Supports healthy business development and community events in Collingwood
Collingwood Neighbourhood House:
Social and recreational activities for all residents, welcoming and inclusive to everyone.
Evergreen Community Health Centre:
Public healthcare services like primary care, addictions, mental health, parenting groups, and home care. Health services for youth include youth counsellors, sexual health information and youth clinics.
Safe Online Outreach Society (SOLOS): Information and tools for parents and educators to help keep children and youth safe online.
Needle Pick-up Hotline: 604-657-6561
City Mattress Removal: 604-326-4719