MPP JOURNAL for the week of June 25, 2021


Ontario Government Fights Child Prostitution

Children in Ontario, some as young as 12, are being coerced and forced into prostitution by adults who exploit them for commercial gain. If these children try to leave, they can suffer physical and emotional abuse and threats. These children are victims of pimps, johns and other sexual predators who are engaging in a form of child sexual abuse. The Ontario government is committed to rescuing these children caught in exploitation.

Attorney General David Young introduced legislation on June 21st, to help fight sexual exploitation of children. As Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General, I will lead the debate of this important legislation through the legislature.

Rescuing Children From Sexual Exploitation Act would allow police and children's aid society workers to assist those being exploited. This proposed legislation would allow police and CAS workers to enter a range of locations where commercial sexual victimization of children occurs, and remove a child under the age of 18 with or without a warrant. Locations include massage parlours and adult entertainment facilities.

The province would also be able to sue pimps and others who sexually exploit children for profit to recover taxpayers' costs of treatment and services required by child victims. Driver's licenses of pimps and johns who are convicted of prostitution-related Criminal Code offences would be suspended for a period of time.

Children will also be protected from being victimized in a wide range of circumstances, including bawdy houses, escort services, telephone or internet sex lines and in the pornography industry. This broad application recognizes the fact that many child victims of sexual exploitation are kept "underground" to avoid detection by the justice system.

In order to prevent revictimization and to ensure the privacy of the child and family members, the identity of those involved would not be published or broadcast. Provisions in the bill would ensure that all hearings are closed to the public and media, and that records of proceedings must be sealed.

Our government will spend up to $15 million annually on programs and services for rescued children. This funding will enable children to start a new life, with the proper necessities and care. After being removed from danger, the child will be placed into a safe location for up to 30 days. Here they will receive needed services such as drug and alcohol counseling, mental health and medical services and specialized legal services.

The illegal actions of these predators have an extremely high price tag. There are emotional and physical costs to sexually exploit children, as well as the financial cost of treatment and services required by these victims of abuse.




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