Curbing sexual exploitation

‘There are steps that can be taken to reduce demand by educating clients’

An Edmonton-based advocacy group aims to shed light on sexual exploitation across the province and educate those who fuel the demand.

“Often when we talk about sexual exploitation we think about those who become the victims” says Kate Quinn executive director of the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton (PAAFE). “We want to confront the harsh truth that there are some individuals primarily men who fuel the demand that causes sexual exploitation.”

Sexual exploitation includes street prostitution Internet luring and child pornography which occurs in several venues such as massage parlours hotels and escort agencies.

Often society’s most vulnerable — the poor homeless drug addicted children — are being targeted for exploitation says Quinn. “We would like to see legislation created that focuses on the demand side and to say that as a country we won’t tolerate the sexual exploitation of any vulnerable person.”

While going after the johns and organized crime that often fuel the sex trade is necessary the government must do more to address the underlying issues that drive people into prostitution says Liberal MLA Kevin Taft.

“There are steps that can be taken to reduce demand by educating clients making people aware that these people are humans beings with a real life story and families that depend on them” says Taft.