Why develop interregional collaborations?
Several issues concomitant with sexual exploitation cause the displacement of victims over a large area. This gives rise to its own set of challenges when it comes to conducting collaborative activities between regions within a single sector, and even more so when this is a collaborative interregional and cross-sectoral effort.
Out of all the factors that are conducive to recruiting youth, runaways constitute youth who are most at risk. In a report that analyzed the 300 files received by different law enforcement agencies in 2018, 44% of victims were runaways when they were recruited, and 77% of them were recruited at a youth centre. Unfortunately, collaboration between youth centres and police services is not uniform across Quebec, which makes it difficult to share information when a young person has run away, particularly in a context of interregional mobilization.
Human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation
In addition, victims of sexual exploitation might end up being relocated elsewhere in Quebec, to other Canadian provinces, or even outside the country. The reasons behind relocating victims are primarily to isolate and distance them from areas they are familiar with and from their acquaintances, to impose debt bondage, and to bring them to a more lucrative market where they might be seen as exotic.
With the increasing accessibility of social media, sexual exploitation is no longer a problem found exclusively in large urban centres. Although the problem is more common to metropolitan areas, it is important for more remote regions to think about a common strategy on sexual exploitation and to integrate into interregional consultation networks. In addition, recruitment
is made easier by technology, as it decreases the visibility of the trafficking process. The victims are hidden, out of sight of the public and intervention workers, who will have difficulty following the constant evolution of technological resources. It is therefore beneficial for all sectors to collaborate in order to keep up with the advances in technology across the regions.
What is interregional collaboration?
Whereas intraregional collaboration takes place within a single region, interregional collaboration happens when the stakeholders of different regions work together with a common objective. To achieve this, the different sectors in each region agree to share expertise, information, resources and/or activities. This optimization of work is beneficial to all stakeholders in
an interregional collaboration, as it eliminates duplication of work, a situation that happens all too frequently. The sectors in the different regions taking part will then benefit from this collaborative work.
Recommendations for developing interregional collaborations
The sectors of the different regions must therefore develop an interregional strategy to guarantee a continuum of services and thus strengthen the safety net for victims of sexual exploitation. To do so, the governmental bodies and regional authorities of the different sectors must take action to bring about collaborative initiatives. Here are a few recommendations :
Standardize the collaboration protocols established between certain sectors in a single region, throughout Quebec;
Encourage the development of regional, provincial and even national round tables;
Encourage the creation of a single access point to create cooperative efforts between all stakeholders of the different intervention sectors and regions of Quebec, modelled on the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec’s publication Multi-sectoral Agreement concerning children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse, or whose physical health is threatened by the lack of appropriate care.
Establish an inter-provincial partnership, allowing for effective monitoring and information exchange regarding this known corridor of sexual exploitation activity across the country.
Encourage alignment between different jurisdictions in order to guarantee the consistent and efficient handling of files, by creating, for example, coordination efforts between the prosecutors in the different jurisdictions.
- EILP, L’Équipe Intégrée de lutte contre le proxénétisme. (2019). Exploitation sexuelle des mineurs et proxénétisme. Recovered from (PDF) (Only in french)
- INESSS, Institut national d‘excellence en santé et en services sociaux. (2017). Portrait des fugueurs et pratiques actuelles en matière de fugue auprès des jeunes hébergés en centre de réadaptation pour jeunes en difficultés d’adaptation au Québec. Recovered from (PDF)(Only in french, english summary available)
- Fondation canadienne des femmes. (2014). Mettons fin à la traite sexuelle au Canada. Recovered from (PDF) (Only in french)
- Marion, E. (2018). Construire la collaboration intersectorielle pour favoriser la réussite scolaire des jeunes en situation de placement : naviguer entre problématisations et controverses (Thèse de doctorat, École nationale d’administration publique, Montréal, Québec). Recovered from (PDF) (Only in french)
- SPVG, Service de police de Gatineau. (2019). Portrait de l’exploitation sexuelle des mineurs à Gatineau : Réalités, enjeux et avenues. Recovered from (PDF)(Only in french)
- Ricard-Guay, A. (2015). Exploitation sexuelle d’adolescentes et jeunes femmes au Québec : perceptions et interventions. De l’ambivalence des sujets aux dilemmes d’intervention. Recovered from (link)(Only in french)