Salmon Arm Council was visited on March 22 by Cathy Peters, advocate against child sexual exploitation and trafficking, who warned that no community is immune. (The Canadian Press - Jonathan Hayward)

Salmon Arm Council was visited on March 22 by Cathy Peters, advocate against child sexual exploitation and trafficking, who warned that no community is immune. (The Canadian Press - Jonathan Hayward)

Salmon Arm council told ‘no community is immune to child sex trafficking’

Advocate says internet used for most child luring, average-aged victim a 13-year-old girl

Human sex trafficking and sexual exploitation for the purpose of prostitution is the fastest growing crime in the world – and must be stopped.

Cathy Peters brought this message to Salmon Arm council on March 22, one group of many politicians she has spoken to over the past seven years.

The key word is exploitation, she said. “This is modern-day slavery.”

She provided statistics for B.C. She said 13 is the average age of recruitment into the sex industry, much younger for Indigenous girls as a result of systemic racism.

In Surrey and Vancouver, the targets are girls 10, 11 and 12 years old – grades four, five and six.

“COVID has made this worse. Traffickers are now very organized and sophisticated,” she warned.

Ninety-five per cent of girls in prostitution want to leave. “It is not a choice, it is not a job.”

Peters, a former inner-city high school teacher, said she has been raising the issue of child sexual exploitation and trafficking since the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act became federal law in 2014, so police would enforce it.

She outlined its three parts, the first which criminalizes the buyers of sex, a part that doesn’t happen in B.C., she said. The second part recognizes the sellers of sex as victims so they are not criminalized, which is recognized in B.C. The third part is putting exit strategies in place to get the victims out of the sex trade.

Read more: Hotline to combat human trafficking launches Canada-wide

Read more: Vernon social justice group rallies to raise awareness for human trafficking victims

She said Vancouver and Toronto are global sex tourism hot spots.

“Canada is known as a child sex tourism destination.”

The global sex trade is fueled by the internet where most of the luring is taking place, she said. Pornography also fuels it, with men and boys the buyers of sex and the key to ending exploitation.

She listed things parents can do. They included: treating children the way you want their future partners to treat them; talking to them about sexual abuse and sex trafficking; talking to them about the dangers of social media, and paying attention to them – monitoring their social media accounts, looking for ways to meet their friends and friends’ parents, and noticing if they have acquired new items.

Read more: Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to Larry Nassar dies by suicide after charges

Read more: Dark web drug trafficking was tied to GHB lab, say RCMP

So what can you do in Salmon Arm? she asked city council.

Train your staff what to look for when granting business licences, she suggested, listing a variety of business types that can be used as covers for sex trafficking exploitation.

She said no community is immune and noted that before COVID-19, her presentations were only to Lower Mainland cities.

“B.C. is getting farther behind all provinces in Canada, in both enforcing the federal law and raising awareness with prevention education.”

Peters’ website is www.beamazingcampaign.org.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond, the chair of Salmon Arm’s social impact advisory committee, suggested Peters’ presentation be shared with the committee as a first step.

“It’s certainly a conversation that’s difficult in every community, never mind a small community where we like to believe those things aren’t happening here,” she said.


martha.wickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Human traffickingSalmon Arm council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Township of Spallumcheen collected an honourable mention in the 2020 UBCM Community Excellence Awards for its sustainable service delivery and water improvment district conversion plan. (Photo submitted)
Spallumcheen water district conversion plan gets recognition

Township collects UBCM Community Excellence Award honourable mention

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Spallumcheen

Township wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Oliver Fire Department had to put out a fire on their own training ground, and it wasn’t one they set. (Facebook)
Vehicles torched at Oliver Fire Department training grounds

This suspected arson comes after the cars were vandalized earlier and suspicious fire the night before

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Tavis Stevenson, son of Pam and Bruce Stevenson, founders of The Book Shop on Main St, is the creator of the whimsical animal farm carts seen above The Book Shop. He also painted the book mural in the back alley behind the shop. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
The Book Shop in downtown Penticton is one of those rare gems

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read