Victims of trafficking or exploitation often do not seek help because they are being trafficked. They come for other reasons. Victims might be looking for medical attention, legal advice, or a harm reduction program. They might also be looking for support with, food, shelter or clothing.
If you notice signs that a young person might be sexually exploited, consider:
Always start with safety. This could include:
Click below to learn more about the ways in which you can build trust with young people:
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In Nova Scotia, every person has a legal duty to report any reasonable suspicion that a child under the age of 16 has been, is being, or is likely to be, abused or neglected. If the abuse or neglect is caused by their parent or guardian, the law also requires you to report suspected abuse if the young person is aged 16 to 18 years old.
The duty to report is outlined in Sections 23-25 of the Children and Family Services Act.
Here is a summary:
You have a duty to immediately report suspected abuse (including sexual exploitation) or neglect to a child welfare agency.
You have a duty to immediately report suspected abuse (including sexual exploitation) or neglect to a child welfare agency if…
- the person who has been, may be or is causing harm is a parent or guardian
- another child, under the age of 16, might also be at risk of abuse or neglect
You do not have a legal duty to report.
Ask the young person if they would like your support to connect with service providers or police.
When talking with the young person, let them know if you are required to make a referral to child welfare, and give them as much autonomy in the situation as you can. They can make the call with you, or they can let you know what information they would like to pass along.
When you call, you will be asked for information about the child/youth, your relationship with the child/youth, the reason you suspect abuse or neglect, as well as any other information that is considered relevant to the safety and wellbeing of the child/youth, other children and family members and service providers.
Once you make a report, child protection social workers will assess the information to determine whether a child protection investigation is required.
If the duty to report applies: