Justice Institute of B.C.

Culturally specific programming

Aboriginal children and youth

Aboriginal children and youth are highly over-represented in sexual exploitation.  Estimates are that of the sexually exploited youth in BC, between 14% and 65% are Aboriginal depending on the community.  In some Canadian communities, research has indicated that up to 90% of the street-involved sexually exploited youth are Aboriginal.

It is clear that Aboriginal children and communities in BC face multiple risk factors that contribute to these high numbers.  Poverty, racism, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and other symptoms of colonization all contribute to the vulnerability of Aboriginal children and youth. 

Visible minority and immigrant children and youth

Visible minority and immigrant youth are also particularly at risk of being sexually exploited.  Experiences of racism, sexism, classism, cultural dislocation, pressures to assimilate in to the dominant culture, and the stereotyping of girls of color as “exotic” are all factors that increase the vulnerability of children and youth.  This can be especially true in small rural communities that have smaller visible minority populations, where racism results in extreme isolation for youth of color.  Visible minority communities often face specific barriers to addressing issues of sexual exploitation due to cultural norms around sex, gender roles, and opportunities for dialogue.  Immigrant youth face additional barriers to accessing programs and information due to cultural and language differences.

Through talking with Aboriginal and visible minority youth across BC, it is clear that any programs or projects attempting to reach these youth must take a culturally relevant approach.  The following resources are aimed at providing you with tools to enhance your programs by empowering Aboriginal, visible minority and immigrant children and youth through culturally relevant programs.


Redwire native youth magazine

Redwire Magazine is run by and for Native youth.   Redwire has been in print since April of 1997 and continues to be the only Native youth driven magazine in Canada.   This publication is founded on the core belief that the key to healing amongst Aboriginal communities is self-empowerment.  Native youth can contribute articles, poems and artwork to the magazine for publication.  Copies can be ordered through their website.


Aboriginal Youth Network

This online resource for Aboriginal youth provides information and resources on education, employment and youth health.  Youth can join online forums on important issues, read about the latest news in Aboriginal communities across Canada, and contribute their own writing and artwork to the website.


Gulf Islands Film and Television School

The Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS) is a media production training facility on Galiano Island, BC. Students live and work at the school in weekend, one-week, or month-long sessions. Sessions are organized by age group (12-14 yrs., 14-19, 19+) and genre (drama, documentary, etc.). GIFTS emphasizes independent production, hands-on training, and respect for the creative process.

GIFTS has been running filmmaking programs for Aboriginal youth and sexually exploited youth for many years.  Their website offers information about finding funding to bring your youth to their filmmaking programs.  Youth can make films that they write, direct and produce around issues of relevance to them.


Eagle Feathers Project

In 2003, P.A.C.E. conducted a questionnaire with 85 Aboriginal youth in Vancouver around issues of sexual exploitation, homelessness and life skills.  This report provides insight in to the unique service needs of Aboriginal youth who have been sexually exploited.

Download the final report from P.A.C.E website, Research section

Helping Hands: Empowering Native Youth

This manual was developed to help native youth in Vancouver find services such as clothing, shelter, educational programs, detox, and health care. 

Visit the Urban Native Youth Association website to download or order a copy

Visible minority and immigrant youth


Anti-Dote Multi-Racial Girls and Women’s Network

Anti-dote is a Victoria-based organization working with racialized girls and young women to promote the needs of racialized minorities and Aboriginal girls in the greater community.  Their programs involve community development and social change through participatory action approaches at a local level.


ASIA (Asian Society for the Intervention of AIDS)

ASIA is a registered non-profit society incorporated in 1995 and committed to providing culturally appropriate and language specific support, outreach, advocacy, education, and research on HIV / AIDS and related issues.  ASIA also works to raise consciousness on issues related to HIV like homophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.


SWAN (Sex Workers’ Action Network)

SWAN is a group of women from diverse backgrounds and cultures whose aim is to provide education, research, outreach, and support for Asian, migrant, trafficked, prostituted women and women in sex work. Their approach is to create safer environment for women through a participatory and collective action network.  SWAN’s objective is to engage in participatory community-based activities that address issues related to sex work, immigration and Human Rights issues.


Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society

This is a non-profit organization offering culturally sensitive services to immigrant and visible minority women and their families who are experiencing violence.  Programs include victim support, advocacy and children who witness abuse programs.


Surrey Delta Immigrant Services

Surrey Delta Immigrant Services provides a range of programs including The Buddy / Youth Program for youth ages 15 to 25 which offers ethnic youth workshops, training, and a peer support network.


AMSSA (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies)

AMSSA is an affiliation of more than 80 multicultural agencies providing immigrant and multicultural services in communities throughout BC.  Their site includes information on community events, anti-racism resources and a website for youth called Racism Sucks.

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