About sexual exploitation

Definition of the phenomenon of sexual exploitation:

Sexual exploitation is a complex problem, particularly because of the various contexts in which it can occur (prostitution environment, erotic massage parlour, nude dancers’ bar, etc.) and the criminal activities that can be associated with it (pimping, human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, payment for sexual services, etc.).

Through its many forms, sexual exploitation generally involves a situation, context or relationship where one person takes advantage of another person’s state of vulnerability or dependence, or the existence of unequal power relations, in order to use that person’s body for sexual purposes, with a view to obtaining some type of advantage from it, whether monetary, social or personal, such as sexual gratification or any other form of exploitation.1

1. Secrétariat à la condition féminine (SCF). (2016). Stratégie gouvernementale pour prévenir et contrer les violences sexuelles (Government strategy to prevent and combat sexual violence) (2016-2021).

Sexual exploitation leaves physical, psychological and social scars on the victims.

Did you know that the average age of first involvement in prostitution is between 14 and 15 years old, and that nearly 80% of prostitutes in Canada started as minors?1

Sexual exploitation is “sexual abuse of minors – under the age of 18 – that involves a business transaction.9

However, our young people are not merchandise.

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There are many psychological consequences: 12345

  • Desensitization to affection, sexuality and intimacy
  • Disregard for one’s own body
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress 6
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide attempts and suicide
  • Distancing and decorporalization processes (numbness to pain) 7
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Subject to substantial violence

  • “Numerous studies show that violence is the norm in prostitution, not the exception.”1
  • Among 100 respondents in Canada, 67% had been threatened with a weapon; 91% had been physically assaulted; 76% had been raped at least once during their prostitution, and 67% had been raped more than five times.6
  • 63% of the violence inflicted was by a pimp. 8
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Many physical risks 2345

  • Nearly 50% of adolescent prostitutes have been pregnant at least once and 20% have been pregnant twice or more.3
  • Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) 35
  • Pelvic peritonitis
  • General exhaustion
  • Early aging
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Skin problems
  • Malnutrition

How to get out of it?

It can be done!

There are many resources available to help victims of sexual exploitation get out of these situations. There are also resources for the loved ones of these victims.

We invite you to consult our various sections to find out about these resources.