A Quebec organization that helps parents to find their missing child is launching a program to warn youth about the pitfalls of running away from home and falling victim to sexual exploitation.
The Missing Children’s Network says SHINE is a province-wide program with workshops targeting children between 10 and 13 years old.
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“We’re teaching them how to set limits. We’re teaching them to assert themselves and denounce any inappropriate behaviour to trustworthy adults,” explained Pina Arcamone, the organization’s director general.
The non-profit says seminars will broach topics like consent, the right to say no and teaching kids to identify and denounce inappropriate behaviour.
As a goal, the organization says it aims to give 40,000 kids the necessary tools right across the province.
“I would really like to see the program though start at kindergarten. I think Grade 5 is too late,” said Sue Montgomery, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce mayor.
“I think we have to start at a very young age. So, I’m really hoping the Quebec government will fund this and get this into schools at a very young age.”
The network also announced Quebec actress Ludivine Reding, who stars in the television series “Fugueuse” (Runaway), as its youth ambassador.
The French-language show began airing in January on TVA and is known for its raw and realistic portrayal of a 16-year-old girl who runs away and is forced into prostitution.