The provincial government announced more than $900,000 in funding for initiatives aimed at fighting child exploitation on Tuesday.
Families Minister Rochelle Squires proclaimed March 7 to 13 as Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Week.
“The safety and security of children is a priority for our government, and we are committed to enhancing supports to ensure the best possible outcomes for vulnerable youth, including those at risk of sexual exploitation,” said Squires.
“The targeted investments I am announcing today support programs and organizations that share our goal of keeping kids safe, and I am pleased to support this critical work.”
The funding includes up to $200,000 to train hotel staff — with the partnership of the Manitoba Hotel Association (MHA) — to help prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
“Ending sexual exploitation is the responsibility of everyone in our community. Hotels are pleased to step up and do our part through the education and training program for hotel staff,” said MHA president and CEO Scott Jocelyn.
“We applaud Minister Squires for this initiative and we look forward to working with the officials in her department to design this program.”
A further $80,000 is earmarked for New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families to update training for workers who deal with sexually exploited youth, and $424,000 is headed to the Toba Centre for Children and Youth to help the organization transition to a full child advocacy centre and develop community-based supports.
Finally, more than $200,000 will go toward three organizations providing abuse investigation training and online standards training.
Squires said the province’s investments are aligned with the goals of Manitoba’s sexual exploitation prevention strategy, known as Tracia’s Trust.