MPP JOURNAL for the week of October 1, 2021


Help for Young victims of Sexual Exploitation   

The first week of the Fall Legislative Session at Queen's Park was a busy one for me and all members of provincial members of parliament. The first day began with Premier Harris bringing forward a resolution, seconded by the leaders of the Liberal and NDP parties to share our thoughts on the tragedy of September 11th and condemn all forms of racial violence and discrimination.

The remainder of the week's debate focused on the proposed legislation introduced by the Attorney General, which deals with child prostitution. As the Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General I had the pleasure of debating this proposed legislation in the House.

The legislation, if passed, would help ensure that Ontario children are safe in their communities and are able to get the services they need to grow up to be healthy, contributing citizens.

The proposed bill would give police and children's aid society workers more and better tools to help young victims of sexual exploitation. It would also allow the province to target the sexual predators who abuse these children.

Police and children's aid society workers would be permitted to rescue sexually exploited children under the age of 18 and place them in a safe, secure location for up to 30 days. Child victims of sexual exploitation could be rescued from a range of situations including street prostitution, adult entertainment facilities, massage parlours, bawdy houses, escort services, locations where telephone or internet sex lines are being operated and the pornography industry.

Our government's legislation recognizes that many child victims of sexual exploitation suffer significant and long-term impacts to their physical and emotional health. This can be compounded by drug addiction, sexually transmitted diseases and physical abuse.

This proposed bill recognizes that each child has different needs, and that flexibility is required when determining what type of care is required. We will set up a system that each child's treatment needs would be assessed on an individual basis.

A wide range of services would be available including, drug and alcohol counseling, specialized legal services, such as witness protection plan and victim witness assistance, medical services such as detoxification and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, mental health services and counselling support services.

If this legislation is passed, our government has announced that we would commit approximately 15 million dollars annually to ensure that appropriate services and supports are in place, so that these children receive effective and meaningful assistance.

This proposed legislation sends a strong message that the sexual exploitation of children will not be tolerated in Ontario. It would permit the suspension of driver's licenses of pimps and johns convicted of prostitution-related Criminal Code offences involving the use of a motor vehicle. The bill would also allow the province to try to recover some of the costs of treating child victims by suing pimps and others who sexually exploit children for profit.

The proposed Rescuing Children from Sexually Exploitation Act is another example of our government's commitment to holding offenders accountable for their crimes, and protecting children from being victimized. It is my hope that this proposed legislation is reviewed in an all-party committee quickly this fall, with final passage taking place prior to the New Year. If you have any comments or questions regarding the Rescuing Children from Sexual Exploitation Act, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.



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