News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 17, 2008

PROVINCE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD GIVE GREATER PROTECTION FOR CHILDREN IN THE MODELLING INDUSTRY

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New Worker Recruitment and Protection Act Would Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation: Allan

The proposed new Worker Recruitment and Protection Act would better protect children and youth in the modelling industry from sexual exploitation, Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan announced today.
 
“Young people are entering the modelling business at an earlier age, some as young as 12 years old and we have become increasingly concerned about the heightened vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation by unscrupulous people in the industry,” said Allan.  “Some recruiters prey on children with the promise of glamorous lifestyles.  Parents, faced with their young, star-struck hopefuls, have no way to check the legitimacy of the recruiter.”
 
The minister noted that children are often approached in malls or scouted at talent search fairs and told they have the potential of becoming the next top model. The child can then expect to pay fees for various services.
 
“While the problem is international, we believe that Manitoba should be the first to deal with the growing recruitment of children and the alarming expansion of the sexual exploitation of children,” said Allan. “The new Worker Recruitment and Protection Act will regulate the practices of modelling and talent search agencies recruiting within our province.”
 
The proposed new act would decrease the vulnerability of children in the industry by:
·         regulating the activities of talent and modelling agencies through licensing,
·         ensuring that fees are not linked to the child’s opportunity to find work,
·         instituting strict requirements for children being promoted by the industry, and
·         improving enforcement mechanisms and penalties.
 
Under the proposed legislation, every child recruitment agency operating in Manitoba would be required to hold a licence issued annually by the province. Any parent, employer, concerned citizen or worker would be able to access the Manitoba Labour and Immigration Employment Standards Branch website for information and to check if an agency is registered with the province. 
 
The proposed act would also require that any child under the age of 17 who will be promoted by an agency would be required to have a child performer work permit, issued by the province at no cost. Working closely with law enforcement officials and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a code of conduct is being developed for agencies which forms the framework for the permit.
 
Child permits would protect children by ensuring that work is conducted in socially-appropriate settings, has appropriate supervision, does not interfere with academic studies and does not affect the health, safety or well-being of the child. There would be a further requirement that children travelling for work be accompanied by a parent or guardian
 
“Our success will rely on continued strength and partnerships with law enforcement, government and prominent voices speaking out against the sexual exploitation of children,” said Allan.
 
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