What is it?

Sexual exploitation is legally defined as follows:

Any person who is in a position of authority or trust toward a young person, who is a person with whom the young person is in a relationship of dependency or who is in a relationship with a young person that is exploitative of the young person, and who:

  • for a sexual purpose, touches a young person directly or indirectly; or
  • for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a young person to touch him or her.

For the purposes of the SPHÈRES project, sexual exploitation is defined as follows:

  • A person, adolescent or adult, whose vulnerability is exploited, whether through a position of authority, an abuse of trust or a dependency that impedes a genuinely healthy and egalitarian relationship. As a result, this person is led to engage in prostitution.

When we discuss prostitution, we use the definition proposed by Hanigan (1997): “the practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for goods and services, mainly for reasons other than satisfying one’s own sexual or emotional needs.”

Under no circumstances can juvenile prostitution be perceived as a free and informed choice. Consequently, when we address the topic of juvenile prostitution, we inevitably talk about sexual exploitation.

*SOURCE: Criminal Code of Canada