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Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week Continues Until March 14

March 10, 2010

Empowering hotel staff to stop child sexual exploitation will be the outcome of a partnership between the province and the Manitoba Hotel Association, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.

"We’re working with the hospitality industry and putting abusers on notice that people aren’t going to look the other way when they bring these young victims into hotels," said Mackintosh. "We all have a role to play and want to be sure everyone has their eyes open to this problem. These children need our help every day."

This initiative is based on an award-winning campaign launched in Alberta last year. The province will be working with the Manitoba Hotel Association to train hotel staff how to spot situations where children could be sexually exploited and report them. Details on the campaign will be announced in April.

"Manitoba’s hoteliers are pleased to take this additional step to help rescue vulnerable children from sex predators," said Jim Baker, president and CEO of the 250-member association. "This campaign will give the people who work in our industry the information and tools they need to prevent this child abuse in hotels."

Building on the work that began with the launch of Tracia’s Trust in December 2008, Manitoba continues to create awareness and offer assistance to those caught up in the cycle of child sexual exploitation, said Mackintosh. A number of public awareness sessions will be held throughout Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week including a public forum in Winnipeg called Dear John: It’s Rape, Not a Date.

Other forums and initiatives:

  • The Sexual Exploitation Northern Regional Team has designed and developed postcards, banners, stickers and posters that will be distributed in Thompson and area this week. The Parkland Sexual Abuse Committee will distribute awareness and education materials throughout its region.
  • Public meetings offering insight and education are planned for Brandon, Dauphin, Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg.
  • The Grandmothers Protecting our Children Council will be on the streets offering coffee, tobacco and prayer to as many young girls and women as they can.
  • The Provincial Advisory Committee on Child Abuse Sexual Exploitation Sub-committee now has a one-page fact sheet about child sexual exploitation offenders. It will be distributed through several internal networks and is designed to remind professionals from many sectors that child sexual exploitation occurs in several different forms, that it is a crime and constitutes child abuse.

"We will remain vigilant and continue to make every effort to reach out to children who are or are at risk of being exploited," added Mackintosh. "They need to know there are people who care and that help is available."