Minister to meet with police to discuss runaways
Published Friday, February 5, 2016 11:58AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 5, 2016 7:10PM EST
Laval police are planning to increase patrols around a group home that has been the site of multiple runaways.
Two girls that ran away from the group home this week have been located, while a third teenager who was staying at the home Monday-to-Friday is still missing.
The mother of Mathilde Geoffroy-Aubé said she is glad her daughter has been found, but is worried.
Marjolaine Aubé said she believes her daughter is being taken advantage of by a prostitution ring.
Aubé said this is the sixth time Mathilde has run away, and she fears that unless stricter measures are taken, Mathilde will run away again.
She plans to ask Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux to sit down and have a discussion with her about what can be done to protect children in group homes.
On Thursday the province's Minister for Youth Protection, Lucie Charlebois, said a prostitution ring had infiltrated the group home.
Many people took that to mean that members of the gang were often inside the building, but Coiteux said that is not the case.
"There is a possibility through the social media, through Facebook, through other types of social networks, there might be a possibility of recruiting through this. She didn't mean infiltration inside the youth centre, this is not what she meant," said Coiteux.
Coiteux said police know that gangs have been preying on teenage girls. He will be meeting with Montreal police on Monday to discuss the issue and how best to deal with the problem.
Lynn Dion has been involved with youth protection for 30 years and specializes in sexual exploitation issues. She says gangs use girls already lured into their group to find new victims.
"Sometimes you have girls who have already been recruited and they are involved in the sex trade and for them [to quit] they are asked 'O.K. you don't want to work? Then go get other girls,'" she explained.
Basic education on what healthy relationships look like is one way to help prevent these situations, she said.
And while it's hard to get the girls away from that life once they're in it, it can be ever harder to put the pimps behind bars.
"There is no complaint. The victim usually doesn't want to complain about the pimp. This is a huge problem that we have," said Laval police Chief Pierre Brochet.
Marjolaine Aubé says her daughter needs is realize the people she's associating with are good people. She knows the ordeal is far from over.
Laval teen Sarah Hauptman is still missing. She is 16 years old with green eyes and light brown hair.
She stands 1.66 m, and weighs 65 kg (5'6", 140 lbs).
Sarah speaks English and French.
Anyone who sees her is asked to call 9-1-1 or call Laval police at 450-662-4636.