Vigil against sexual exploitation of youth Monday night in Chilliwack
A candlelight vigil set for Monday night outside Chilliwack city hall is aimed at shining a light on the crime of sexual exploitation of youth.
"As a community we need to educate young people and provide them with the tools they need to prevent them from being lured into the sex trade," said Amanda Johnson, Reconnect worker with Chilliwack Youth Services.
"Raising awareness in our schools and community will send the message that buying sex from children and youth is abuse and a crime."
Chilliwack Community Action team and Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee's Youth Matters are kicking off the Stop Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness week March 5-11 with the candlelight vigil March 5 at 7 p.m. at city hall.
"Unfortunately many parents are unaware of the dangers out there," said James Morgan, Chilliwack Youth Probation Officer with Ministry of Children and Family Development. He was presenting an overview of the week's events to council at the last meeting.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz thanked the team for its leadership on the topic.
"I'm very impressed by your vision and your passion," she said. "The exploitation is not always about a young girl in a boots and a short skirt leaning in the window of a car.
"Sometimes it's about trading a designer purse for a place to stay."
The Community Action Team will host a series of informational sessions starting Monday, March 5 with both the vigil and a presentation of the film “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” a film by the National Film Board of Canada.
RCMP Cpl. Jassy Bindra presents a session on Human Trafficking at City Hall in council chambers from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.
Then on Friday, March 9, it's Merlyn Horton from the Safe Online Outreach Society presenting at the City Life Church at 1 p.m. Topics include trends in online youth culture, high-risk activities, the nature of sexual exploitation in cyberspace, Internet safety tips and resources.