Each year, the Canadian Children of the Street Society comes with a new chapter of their awareness campaign about online sexual exploitation. It is actually more than a campaign, it is a program named Predator Watch program. The aim is to prevent sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children and youth in British Columbia through education strategies, public awareness initiatives, and family support. It started in 2009 and is in it’s eighth edition.
The focus is now on the issue of sextortion, or the use of sexual images to blackmail for further images, videos or sexual favours. The campaign, developed by Cossette Vancouver, features a series of three teens who receive warning messages as they are about to send an explicit photo. These”Uncertain Terms” are not always provided in real life and serve as a warning to others about the dangers of images sharing and sexual extortion. The message is to “be careful what you agree to.”
The need for this campaign became clear when Cybertip.ca, a Canadian website for reporting online sexual exploitation, released a press release in 2015 stating that they saw a 40% increase in reports of this crime. The feedback matches what Children of the Street Society heard in the classrooms and also in the calls they receive from parents concerned about their youth.
Diane Sowden, Executive Director of Children of The Street Society:
When we started our organization over 20 years ago sexual exploitation was a crime that happened in public places like schools, malls and playgrounds. Now, that public place is your child’s bedroom. More than ever, sexual exploitation is a crime that can happen to anyone.
The campaign will run for 6 months. The second phase of the campaign features an interactive online component that parents can use to help them talk to their kids about image sharing and sextortion.
The good thing of such a long-term campaign is that the evolution of the problem can be viewed in detail. Therefore, it is so nice that The Children of the Street Society has placed all its campaigns together. Watch them here.