The images of sexual exploitation of youth in Canada are pervasive and stereotyped, most commonly depicting an older teen girl in a short skirt and high heels standing on a street corner. The stereotypes of sexually exploited youth are wrong. The research in this report shatters some of the myths about sexual exploitation among youth in BC: what it is, and who is experiencing it. That girl on the street corner does exist, and she is being exploited, but her story is not the only one, or even the most common one. Our study is drawn from surveys of youth in multiple cities across the province over the past several years. Our results document the experiences of more than 500 youth who have been sexually exploited during their teens, comparing their lives with youth in similar circumstances who have not been exploited. This study draws on responses from 1,845 youth who participated in 5 different youth health surveys conducted by McCreary Centre Society in cities across British Columbia between 2000 and 2006. Three of the surveys were with street-involved and marginalized youth in 10 different cities, and two were among youth in the custody centres located throughout the province. The surveys included questions about sexual exploitation, which occurs when youth under age 19 trade sexual activities in exchange for resources such as money, drugs, food, shelter, transportation, clothes, and similar things. Sexual exploitation is not a job; it is illegal to exploit youth, and it is a form of sexual abuse.
The report is available here.