Sexual exploitation of children and youth under the age of 18 years is any type of sexual activity with children and youth in exchange for money, drugs, food, shelter or any other considerations. This is the case whether or not children or youth consider themselves to be consenting.
Sexual exploitation of children and youth is never considered prostitution or consensual.
It is sexual exploitation when children and youth:
- Are sexually abused by adults
- Provide sex for a place to sleep, a meal or a ride
- Trade sexual activities in exchange for money, drugs, alcohol, gifts, services, or other items
- Are sexually trafficked
- Are seduced, manipulated or coerced to take sexual pictures/videos of themselves (i.e., child pornography) that can be sent over the internet
Some youth feel they are not being exploited, and that they have chosen to exchange sexual acts for resources. But sexual exploitation is not employment or a chosen occupation; it is a form of sexual abuse.
The week recognizes the importance of supporting communities to develop prevention, education, enforcement and intervention strategies to address the sexual exploitation of children and youth. Activities include a fuchsia ribbon campaign (PDF) and local school and community-based events held throughout the province.
If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of sexual exploitation, please contact VictimLinkBC.