TCO²: Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of Others

This Entry has been submitted.

TCO²: Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of Others

Province-wide , CanadaCoquitlam, Canada
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

TCO² is a unique and innovative workshop designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth in B.C.

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. The Ministry of Children and Family Development reported that 13 is the average age that children reported their first experience of being exploited through the sex trade.

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

TCO² (Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of Others) is a prevention workshop designed and delivered by youth for youth to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth in B.C. TCO² is offered free of charge to children and youth ages 11-18 (grades 6-12) throughout BC. TCO2 includes an in-depth social justice conversation about trends related to exploitation in order to empower social responsibility and leadership among youth. With the advancement of technology, young people are at risk now more than ever. Two teams of two Workshop Facilitators engage youth participants in a meaningful and interactive examination of what sexual exploitation is, who is involved, and how to prevent it from happening.
Impact: How does it Work

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

TCO² aims to prevent sexual exploitation, including healthy relationships, by enhancing skills, critical thinking, and leadership among youth participants. By educating and raising awareness, children and youth will gain the knowledge and tools needed to protect themselves from sexual exploitation. As well, Workshop Facilitators incorporate multi-media into the workshops to address links between the media, popular culture and sexual exploitation, and encourage critical thinking. Topics covered in the TCO2 workshop include: recruitment tactics and warning signs of exploitation; violence and drugs/alcohol; deglamourizing the sex trade; online exploitation and online safety; healthy relationships; non-commercial forms of exploitation; sexually exploited males; barriers to exiting; links to gang culture and recruitment; community resources; and how to get help. As we present to age groups that are at different points and understanding of their lives, we customize our content to fit four specific groups: elementary, middle, high school and high-risk youth. Workshops are customizable for the host school or community, depending on what issues they may be facing.

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

We are the leading organization in BC addressing the prevention of sexual exploitation. With our extensive experience delivering effective prevention, awareness, and early intervention programs we have built a strong reputation in the community. Due to our strong partnerships with schools and groups working with high-risk youth and the insight we have gained over the past 17 years, we are well positioned to provide this type of programming. We have also implemented best practices and include having both a male and female Facilitator deliver prevention education, as well as the concept of “youth talking to youth”.

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.


Sexual exploitation is happening to children and youth everywhere. What can we do to prevent it?