Event – Stop the Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week in BC (March 14-20)

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In recognition of Stop the Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week (March 14-20), Equitas BC in partnership with PCRS’ Stop Exploiting Youth Program and SFU Centre for Restorative Justice is putting on an awareness event on March 16, 2016 from 6:00-9:00pm at SFU, Surrey Campus. The event itself is an opportunity for parents of children and youth, service providers and youth to come together to help stop the sexual exploitation that is happening in our community both online and at a street level.

 Please join us in our efforts to Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth in Surrey. FEATURING… – Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda took her own life after suffering online abuse. – Youth performances. – The short film Chosen, the shocking story of two teen girls tricked into trafficking. – Panel discussion featuring community professionals in the field of sexual exploitation, an opportunity to ask questions and have a community discussion: Help stop the exploitation of children and youth in our community. RSVP: Seats are limited…to reserve your seat please RSVP youth name and number of seats to Leanne Atkinson at latkinson@pcrs.ca. During the event youth from Shaking The Movers –a project that Equitas BC initiated within our Speaking Rights Program – will be sharing their insights and recommendations with the participants.

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Shaking The Movers in BC

The youth are the “shakers” whose words and recommendations, based on their lived experience, are addressed to the “movers” who should be motivated by them to act in ways that demonstrate they have actually heard what the young people have had to say.” Hon. Landon Pearson

Shaking the Movers (STM) BC youth conference was a forum to hear youths speak about the issues affecting their lives, particularly on sexual exploitation. We spent 3 days learning, dialoguing and listening to one another. As facilitators, we learned to frame our inquiry and dialogue not as “what recommendations can youths give to law and policy makers on sexual exploitation?”, but to ask “what do you need as a youth to live successfully within and beyond your communities?” 23 youths and 9 facilitators attended the first STM in BC. Youths were from the Lower Mainland of Vancouver. Facilitators were current or past Simon Fraser University (SFU) students with diverse fields of study from Health Sciences, Economics, Psychology and Criminology. The conference was sponsored and supported by; Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, SFU Centre for Restorative Justice, SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre, Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, Pacific Community Resources Society, and Children of the Street Society.

I increasingly believe that one of the great values of a rights-based approach to working with children and youth as well as with other groups is that it flattens the hierarchies of power and control that allow for exploitation and other abuses. As human beings, no matter how small, we all have rights. In fact children have extra protection rights related to their age and maturity and that is why they have their own human rights convention. Since we all have rights we cannot “own” one another but we also “owe” one another respect.” Hon. Landon Pearson

This report captures the conversations over the 2 STM weekends in June and September. It begins with an introduction by Honorable Landon Pearson on how STM was formed and how it came to BC. This introduction is followed by an overview of STM June and September and youth participants and facilitators’ introductions. It gives highlights of the June activities and the 3 recommendations from June that formed the basis of discussions in September. The bulk of the report contains the direct words of youths from their dialogue with facilitators and stakeholders. Youths developed concrete outcomes using art and words which were presented to stakeholders at the end of the conference. The report concludes with feedback post-conference from facilitators and organizing committee members and lasting impressions.

Artistic Expression of Recommendations from Shaking The Movers

During September, youth were given the opportunity to voice their needs through art. Kat Thoreson, an artist, craftivist and therapeutic art facilitator guided the youths through an art-based process to bud their creative side. Supported by Kat and Filmmaker Parmida, youths created this masterpiece.

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