Local News

Crime Stoppers set to talk about child human trafficking

Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg

Photo from: CSGW

Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW) is wrapping up tomorrow night with an important topic for residents of the County of Wellington and City of Guelph.

The third part of a three-part series will mark the end of the month with a free Zoom webinar at 7 p.m. titled, Preventing Cyber Crime Against Youth.

Sarah Bowers-Peter, program coordinator for CSGW explained to the 88.7 The River what exactly cybercrime is, in regards to tomorrow’s webinar.

“It’s where a young person is being groomed through social media, or online gaming platforms, and the end game is to groom them into being involved in human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking,” Bowers-Peter said.

She said CSGW knows that incidents of these activities have increased throughout 2020 due to increased screen time for youth.

“What we’re hearing from our partners both in Guelph Police [Service] and Wellington County OPP, as well as, our colleagues at Victim Services in Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis, they are all experiencing increases in reporting to their individual agencies,” Bowers-Peter said.

Bowers-Peter said they know that children as young as 12-years-of-age are being groomed for sex trafficking.

“And it is happening in our community, that’s another big misconception is that this is an urban problem and, you know, we don’t have to worry about it in Wellington County, or it’s not a southwestern Ontario problem, it’s a Toronto problem, and that simply is not true,” she said.

She said the internet makes it very convenient, and very simple to reach out to a young person who may be struggling.

Detective Constable Hugh Curry with the Guelph Police Service, whose background is in the internet child exploitation unit for the Guelph Police Service will be speaking and answering questions during the webinar.

“And he’s going to be speaking on what he’s seeing as far as the latest trends in social media platforms, the tactics being used, and some of the common mistakes that are made,” Bowers-Peter said.

Bowers-Peter said Constable Curry will also provide some insight to parents as to what they can do to help prevent it from happening, or at least being a little bit more involved, so they know who their kids are talking to.

Pre-registration is required for the free Zoom webinar and can be done through www.eventbrite.ca