Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 10, 2011

Manitoba Partners With Police, Outreach Agencies to Help More Sexually Exploited, Trafficked Youth Escape Streets

Tracia's Trust Funds New Transition Beds in Winnipeg Area, Launches StreetReach North: Mackintosh

Manitoba will invest $2 million to help three outreach agencies establish 18 new safe, transition beds to help trafficked or exploited teens escape the streets, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.

“In just 10 years, Manitoba has gone from having virtually no action to counter the sexual exploitation of youth to becoming the province with Canada’s most recognized strategy,” said Mackintosh.  “But this is small comfort to kids who are still on the streets.  Today’s initiatives are imperative to saving the lives of some of our most abused teens.”

This announcement comes during Manitoba’s Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week.  Provincial support for these programs brings Manitoba’s contribution to Tracia’s Trust – Manitoba’s Sexual Exploitation Strategy to more than $8 million annually, Mackintosh said.

The three community agencies that will be offering new transition beds are:

  • MaMaWi, with support by Kani Kanichihk, which will run a six-bed healing lodge called Hands of Mother Earth (HOME) in rural Manitoba, opening this spring, for the most vulnerable youth who are sexually exploited;
  • Kani Kanichihk, which will operate a four-bed foster home called Kima Mi Na in Point Douglas, also opening this spring, for youth transitioning out of the care of Child and Family Services; and
  • New Directions’ TERF program will run an eight-bed transition facility in West Broadway, opening in the fall, for youth transitioning out of foster care and into independent living.

The addition of these 18 beds will bring the provincial total to 71 specialized beds for at-risk or exploited children and youth.  The new beds are in addition to services already offered at Manitoba’s five existing facilities or programs:  Little Sisters Safe Transition Home operated by MaMaWi, Rose Hall specialized treatment home operated by Marymound, Our Relatives Place specialized foster care operated by Kani Kanichihk, Ndinawe’s second-stage housing supported independent living and Ndinawe’s Safe Home.

 The province also announced today that StreetReach Winnipeg, Manitoba’s leading-edge outreach initiative that co-ordinates the efforts of agencies, has served more than 500 youth since it became operational last year.  StreetReach Winnipeg works closely with the Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons and Vice units as well as a number of agencies. 

Working with partner agencies, StreetReach can quickly share information that leads to the rescue of at-risk children, the minister said.  Media outlets, the Winnipeg Police Service and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection all have important roles to play in alerting the public and rescuing children, he added.  To date, 74 critical-reach posters and 64 media releases have been distributed.

“StreetReach Winnipeg’s outreach staff have had major roles in locating and returning more than 100 children and youth to safe environments (placements or home), which reduces the likelihood of sexual exploitation,”  Mackintosh said.  “In addition, more than 40 children and youth have been deemed high-risk victims, which ensures a more urgent response from child welfare, outreach and law enforcement personnel when they go missing.”

StreetReach Northhas now been launched in Thompson in partnership with the local Boys and Girls Club and the Thompson RCMP detachment, Mackintosh said.  Currently, there are eight organizations and agencies working together as StreetReach North.  They have served 127 youth including high-risk victims.

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