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.
“Our goal is to prevent teens from running away and falling victim to sexual exploitation.”
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.