Q. What’s it like in Canada for a kid who is being abused?

A. – Not much different than for a kid who is being abused in Thailand or Cambodia, or any other part of the world where predators corner them in isolation and indulge their twisted perversions.

Abuse is abuse. The cry of desperation from a little boy or girl is the same, whether coming from the heart of a child walking the dirt streets of Uganda, dressed in tattered rags; or from the heart of a Canadian child, weeping on a frothy, pink bedspread, with her GapKid clothes strewn where her uncle threw them a few minutes before.

A couple of nights ago, I listened to John Perks of “Be A Hero” tell about the estimated 10 million kids around the world who have been forced into the sex industry (www.beahero.org).

But this is Canada – our home and native land, where true patriot hearts beat in the hearts of our sons – the true north, strong and free.

Recently, some ministry friends of mine, who minister on the streets, were telling me about the reality of sex-slavery in Canada. But who sees the sad-eyed girls being herded into hotels for a three or four night stay? Who notices them being hustled off by their dead-eyed traffickers to the next town, before they can be tracked. Oh Canada…

Abuse. Sex-slavery. Traffickers. Predators. Tears. Despair. The maple leaf. It gets overwhelming. Are we doing anything about it?

Well, increasingly, there is a framework for action. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child came into effect in 1990. In 2000, an additional protocol, prohibiting the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography was adopted. In March, 2001, Bill C-15 was adopted in Canada to respond more effectively to new technologies that threaten the security of our children.

Last week, (June 17th) the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that Canada is joining the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online. The purpose of the Global Alliance is to fight Internet predators and hunt down purveyors of child abuse images online. Identifying and helping victims, putting offenders behind bars, reducing the availability of online child pornography and increasing awareness are its goals. “Child sexual exploitation is a horrific crime. Canada continues to lead, support and implement numerous initiatives, domestically and abroad, to prevent and combat the sexual exploitation of children, but no country can fight this crime alone,” said Minister Nicholson.

We at Winning Kids Inc. are doing all we can to raise awareness and put Plan to Protect protocols in place in schools, organizations, churches and facilities. If we can save one child from abuse, we know we have saved a whole family from a lifetime of pain and struggle.

Frameworks for action are good – but sometimes people have to act spontaneously, either with others or alone; either within a framework or out of their own inclinations. The point is, that action is an individual thing, just as abuse is an individual thing. We can’t wait for “someone else to fix it” or for laws and protocols to magically protect children. We have to act. Each of us. All of us. At a moment’s notice. If we see a child in danger, we must respond, not turn away or go into denial.

If we see a child in danger, we must respond, not turn away or go into denial.

Q. What’s it like in Canada for a child who has never known abuse?

A. Glorious.

© Diane Roblin-Lee, June 28/2013