SASKATOON – A new app to stop sexual exploitation against youth was launched Tuesday morning by Egadz, Saskatoon’s downtown youth centre. The free ‘I Am Not 4 Sale’ app has a ‘help me button’ that anonymously directs users to the Egadz street outreach program.
“Anybody that comes through will get hooked up with our street outreach program and we’ll try to build that connection and provide assistance,” said Egadz executive director Don Meikle.
“We’ll work with the police and if they don’t want to come forward they aren’t going to come forward.”
The app also allows users to report negative experiences, sift through emergency contacts, has an alarm function and displays violent offenders in the area. In January, a button will be added that will immediately direct users to 911.
“What’s exciting about this is by using social media and your cell phones it’s going to be something that the youth are very comfortable with,” said Donna Harpauer, Saskatchewan’s minister of social services.
“They’re very social media savvy so this isn’t going to be something that they’re going to be apprehensive about.”
When users submit information on the app it’s applied to the “iamnot4sale.ca” website. The Egadz support team has already added a few links to get the initiative started.
“There are already a few postings of bad dates out on there, a few blog websites, some newspaper articles of Saskatoon prostitution … and there’s community feedback on there,” said Sally Mckenzie, an Egadz app development team member.
“You can go on there and write about what you think of the sites and everything.”
Currently, Egadz does not have anyone monitoring the app from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. CT, but organizers hope this will change as the initiative picks up steam.
The technology cost $50,000 to develop and Egadz hopes the idea will spread nationwide. Half of those funds came from the provincial government.