Montreal to spend $225,000 to fight sexual exploitation of Indigenous people

Sylvain Caron, Montreal's chief of police

The Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal on Tuesday announced that $225,000 from the Quebec government would be used to conduct research on the sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and improve the way the force deals with indigenous victims of sexual exploitation.

The money boosts funding for the program The Survivors, which was created in 2011 and offers information sessions to professionals who work with victims of sexual exploitation. It also provides resources to vulnerable young people, including sharing first-person accounts from women who had escaped sexual exploitation, the city said Tuesday in a statement.

The $225,000 announced Tuesday will provide funding for the hiring of a research officer, whose work will include "developing tools" for police officers who work with Indigenous people. The research officer will also help the SPVM better understand the sexual exploitation of Indigenous youths, according to Rosannie Filato, Montreal's executive committee member responsible for public security.

Filato welcomed the program's expansion but noted that, since its inception, The Survivors program has sought to prevent sexual exploitation across the city, including among Indigenous women.

Montreal Police Chief Sylvain Caron lauded SPVM officers who work with survivors of sexual violence.

"Through their commitment and determination, they contribute to giving a voice and a place for indigenous women and men. The Survivors program is part of the measures we are putting in place to ensure the protection of human life and the maintenance of the feeling of security of the aboriginal communities in Montreal," the police chief said.

Sexual exploitation can be defined in many ways, the SPVM noted on its website. It exists in numerous industries: street prostitution, escorting, erotic massage, pornography, erotic dance and more, the force says.