Laval Group Home a Target of Gangs and Prostitution Rings
QUEBEC CITY – The girls who went missing from a group home in Laval could just be the tip of the iceberg.Authorities believe they were sexually exploited by street gangs, but some insist the bigger issue is human trafficking.
“A report was made two years ago. TheParti Québécois had it and the Liberal Party had it and nothing has been done,” said Nathalie Roy, Coalition Avenir Québec Status of Women critic.
According to the CAQ, the disappearance of five teenagers from the Laval group home isn’t an isolated incident – and the government knew that.
“Will the government increase funding to fight against the recruitment of young girls into the hell of sex slavery?” asked André Spénard, CAQ Public Security Critic.
The opposition said there have been hundreds of runaways.In 2014, the Parti Québécois government released a report revealing how young women in Laval were coerced or forced into prostitution by street gangs. Now, the PQ is claiming the Liberal government is refusing to act.
“They could update this information in a matter of days or weeks and follow the recommendations,” said Jean-Francois Lisée, PQ Social Services Critic.
The PQ also claims a $20 million budget cut to the centre played a part in the lack of security.The group home normally houses between 150 to 200 teens; this year, there are 16 per cent more in their care.
“Everyone knows prostitution, street gangs and organized crime have always existed,” Youth Protection Minister Lucie Charlebois told reporters.
However, Charlebois said an auditor is looking into the problem – a first step to addressing the larger issues in group homes across Quebec. The government insisted the PQ’s document was just a summary of what social workers have encountered, and is not a full report.Ministers said there was no concrete list of recommendations and so, they are still continuing to address the issue of sexual exploitation.
“The situation that we have in youth centres in Quebec, where you have young girls, young guys going through troublesome times and are being abused by different people is not an issue that is new,” explained Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée.
That’s why appointing an auditor is so important, she said – to provide insight and to protect Quebec youth.
February 10th, 2016
- Posted By: Raquel Fletcher, Global News
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