March 1-7 was National Week Against the Sexual Exploitation of Minors. Together, seven sexual assault crisis centres (CALACS) have joined forces to launch an awareness campaign for young women aged 14-25.
The It’s Not a Game campaign shares the experiences of Kamilla, aged 16, Jessica, aged 14, and Kisha, aged 12. Their stories are fictionalized but the experiences are real, inspired by the lives of countless women and girls visiting CALACS throughout the province every day. Kelly Laramée of CALACS Aggression Estrie explains that a third of all people subjected to pimping, trafficking and sexual exploitation are under the age of 18. Laramée describes the campaign as playful, despite the nature of the subject matter. Through story, video and the metaphor of escaping a labyrinth, the site aims to bring information and perspective to where young people spend their time: online.
“It is a playful campaign, inspired by real stories to demystify sexual exploitation while emphasizing that help is available,” Laramée explains. “Throughout the pandemic, young people have spent more time on their screens and are becoming increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and sexual exploitation,” Kelly Laramée adds. She says it is more and more challenging to reach young people because they are not out in public spaces.
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