It Can Happen To Anyone

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It Can Happen To Anyone

Province-wide , CanadaCoquitlam, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

It Can Happen to Anyone is a program that consists of prevention and education workshops and direct early intervention and family support.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Sexual exploitation is an issue currently affecting all B.C. communities that has long-term negative consequences not only on the lives of children and youth that are exploited, but also their families and the entire community. Children and youth are being actively recruited into the sex trade by both male and female pimps, gang members, and other individuals, including their own peers. Workshops are offered to the following audiences: parents, foster parents, caregivers, educators, high risk youth and service providers including educators, social workers, and law enforcement.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

It Can Happen to Anyone consists of prevention and education workshops and direct early intervention and family support. The program is offered free of charge and on an ongoing basis to communities throughout B.C. ITCHA breaks down barriers for community members to discuss a difficult topic, access up-to-date information and locate resources and support. ITCHA has significant positive impact on the community because it fills a vital gap in services for parents and caregivers who have a child at risk of sexual exploitation. Through this program, parents, caregivers and service providers who have concerns about a child or youth receive comprehensive and non-judgemental, one-on-one support and hope during a time of crisis.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Workshop Delivery: ICHTA workshops are designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth by empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to recognize sexual exploitation and prevent it from happening. Early Intervention and Direct Support: Each year, Children of the Street Society provides direct support to approximately 50 individuals and/or families with concerns about a child or youth. Youth may be anywhere along the spectrum of exploitation: they may be displaying risky behaviour; there may be evidence that they are being ‘groomed’ by a sexual predator; or there may be evidence that they are already being explicitly sold, online or otherwise. Over the past years, there has been a shift towards providing direct support to individuals on a more intensive, ongoing basis. We are also experiencing an increase in requests for workshops with high-risk youth, which may indicate increased awareness about our prevention programs in the community, or a sign that exploitation is affecting more youth. In fact, 20% of our workshops last year were directed at high-risk youth.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

As a leading agency on the issue of sexual exploitation, Children of the Street often receives referrals for families in need of support from schools, social workers and law enforcement. Through working in partnership with these agencies, It Can Happen to Anyone enhances community partnerships between social services, law enforcement, and child protection, in order to advocate for the best interests of the child.

Founding Story

Children of the Street Society was co-founded in 1995 by Executive Director, Diane Sowden, in collaboration with a group of parents personally affected by sexual exploitation. Diane’s daughter was recruited into a life of commercial sexual exploitation at age 13 by an older “boyfriend” who introduced her to a lifestyle of drug use. Despite a life of school, soccer and family vacations, her daughter quickly became dependent on drugs and was soon forced to sell herself to pay off her drug debts. She is still on the streets today. Our Society was created in order to PREVENT this tragedy from happening to other families.