Young people speak out: Better prevention and action against sexual exploitation in Quebec

jeunes parole exploitation sexuelle

Project duration: 2021 - 2023

The project "Young people speak out - Better prevention and action against sexual exploitation" launched in 2021 gives a voice to adolescents to influence prevention and action strategies against sexual exploitation in the new technological era driven by the pandemic and the new technologies.

In Quebec, as elsewhere, COVID-19 poses new challenges to the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. The stress generated by the pandemic, combined with the increased promiscuity of children in increasingly closed environments, has led to an explosion in cases of sexual violence.

Several institutions are sounding the alarm. During the pandemic, the Sûreté du Québec’s (SQ) Internet Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation Team has received 1,790 reports since the beginning of 2020, compared to 530 five years ago. In February 2021, Cybertip.ca – Canada’s national tipline for reporting the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet – reported an 88% increase in reports, particularly in cases of sextortion.

On one hand, children at risk need a wide range of specialised services, all of which have become even less available due to the pandemic. As the Laurent Commission has pointed out, protection systems are overburdened and operate in a reactive rather than preventive mode.

On the other hand, preliminary research shows that young people involved in, or 'consenting' to, these types of abuse do not always see themselves as victims of sexual exploitation, but rather as a source of empowerment and autonomy in relation to their peers and adults. In addition to the fact that they do not take part in the debates, the result is that the majority of adolescents do not feel concerned by the awareness-raising and prevention campaigns that have been put in place. There is a growing gap between the realities experienced by young people and the approaches, tools, campaigns and measures used to prevent and act against sexual exploitation.

This project therefore aims to equip young people to better understand the links between the pandemic, technologies and sexual exploitation so that they can become actors in protecting themselves and their peers. The involvement of young people will enable adaptations to be proposed so that the actions undertaken to prevent and act on sexual exploitation are more effective, relevant, sustainable and of high quality. The project also aims to promote to decision-makers, the community and parents, the need to take into account the perspective of young people in the fight against sexual exploitation, so that the message of prevention and action and the services available to them are better adapted. To this end, the Bureau will organise a series of meetings, discussions and training workshops to enable a collective of six groups of approximately twelve young people to come up with concrete recommendations to combat sexual exploitation in this time of pandemic.

Objectivesprojet lutte exploitation sexuelle jeunes Québec

The objective is to improve, from the point of view of young people, the strategies of prevention and action against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, especially in the evolution of its manifestations in the context of the pandemic.

To do so, the main lines of action are to:

  • promote to decision-makers the need for meaningful participation of adolescent girls and boys in the definition of better targeted and more effective campaigns and policies


  • to equip adolescents on sexual exploitation so that they can be actors of protection for themselves and their peers and central interlocutors in the definition of measures against sexual exploitation


The project "Young people speak out - Better prevention and action against sexual exploitation" is financed by the Victims of Crime Fund (FAVAC) of the Quebec Ministry of Justice.

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Proud partner of the City of Montreal's Children's Policy.

ville de mtl logo    ville.montreal.qc.ca/enfants

© Photo: Cottonbro via Pexels
  • Intervention locations : Québec, Montréal et Rive Nord de Montréal
  • Project duration: 2 years
  • Partners :
    • La Maison des Jeunes MAGI (quartier Mercier-Ouest, Montréal)
    • Le Collège Notre-Dame (quartier Côte-des-Neiges, Montréal)
    • Motivation Jeunesse (basé à l’école secondaire Lucien-Pagé, quartier Villeray, Montréal)
    • L’école secondaire des Patriotes (St-Eustache)
    • L’école secondaire Externat Sacré-Cœur (Rosemère)
  • Highlights:
    • 5 groups of approximately 12 youths aged 14 to 16.
    • Creation of a directory of campaigns and strategies, tools, posters, brochures and other materials, school and extracurricular courses, and all other initiatives aimed at preventing and acting on the sexual exploitation of children, in order to analyse the successes and areas for improvement
    • Training of adolescent groups on the various dimensions of sexual exploitation, technologies and the pandemic, and the combined effects on children, both in terms of prevention and action
    • Formulation of concrete recommendations against sexual exploitation, adapted to contemporary issues (pandemic, technologies, etc.)
    • Animation of dissemination activities by the young people who will have piloted the project (among their peers and the various authorities concerned)
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Capacity building
    • Applied research
    • Advocacy and institutional support
    • Tools, reference manuals and standards
    • Training leadership
    • Child sexual exploitation
    • Child protection systems

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