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
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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