Montreal labelled a hotspot for child prostitution
Published Thursday, May 12, 2016 9:33AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:43PM EDT
An international study says Montreal is a hotspot for sexual tourists in Canada.
The global analysis of sexual exploitation by ECPAT identified Montreal as a hub for the sexual exploitation of children.
Other key locations for the sexual exploitation of children in North America are Las Vegas and Atlanta, because of the large number of gamblers and business travellers."
Today, many of them come from the same c ountry or region as their victims and many are situational offenders who never thought of exploiting a child until given the opportunity," said ECPAT Chairperson Carol Bellamy.
Among those opportunities are events like international festivals, for which Montreal is famed. ECPAT said because Montreal hosts many sporting and cultural events, and because of its proximity to the United States, it is relatively easy for sex tourists to exploit children in the city.
ECPAT is an international group devoted to the end of child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes.
The report did not come as a surprise to workers at CLES, a Montreal organization that helps women leave prostitution.
"We really have to enforce the laws that we have, because we have laws for more than a year-and-a-half now that criminalizes johns, so what are we doing about that?" said CLES spokesperson Eliane Legault-Roy.
Luring in Laval
In recent months Quebecers have been alerted to the problem of teen prostitution after several children under government care ran away from a group home in Laval.
Police said they believed those teens were being lured into prostitution by gangs.
In at least one case one of the 'runaways' was found in another province before being returned to the Montreal area.
The ECPAT study says the ease of travel in North America is a challenge for those fighting child prostitution, not only because it's not difficult to smuggle children long distances, but also because sexual predators can travel across the continent without any hindrances.