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Adolescents in the sex market in Montreal, Canada

Grant number: 19/24809-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): July 15, 2023
Effective date (End): January 14, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Tatiana Savoia Landini
Grantee:Tatiana Savoia Landini
Host Investigator: Delphine Collin-Vezina
Host Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: McGill University, Canada  

Abstract

Sexual violence against children and adolescents is a worldwide threat in all its forms - domestic violence, sexual exploitation, pornography, trafficking, etc. International agreements provide some general rules and important legal-conceptual tools to be used by all countries that ratify those agreements. Despite efforts, sexual violence remains at critical levels and presents challenges to social and legal intervention. Although research on this topic has advanced, much remains to be done and researched. The performance of both the government and international agencies greatly benefits from the knowledge produced by universities. Having already conducted researches on sexual exploitation in Brazil, and considering this as a global social problem, I now propose to turn my attentions to another country. Thus, the proposed research aims at contributing to the discussion, in comparative perspective, on the involvement of children and adolescents with the sex market, as well as the intervention experiences aimed at helping those children and adolescents to break their ties with the sex market. The reality of the involvement of children and adolescents with the sex market is not restricted to prostitution or trafficking, but presents itself in many different configurations and settings worldwide, from the poorest to the richest countries, evidence of the importance of comparative analysis for its understanding. Complementing studies that I have been conducting for over 15 years in the area of sexual violence against children and adolescents, I propose to now study the reality of Montreal, Canada, contributing to the advancement of the discussions that I have been consolidating, as well as opening doors to (re)think sexual exploitation and social intervention. The approval, at the end 2017, of the new formulation of the Youth Protection Law in the province of Quebec, Canada, motivates and justifies the proposal of this research. Although the country's Criminal Code already prohibits prostitution of children under 18 years of age, provincial youth protection legislation did not have any regulation on sexual exploitation. As a result, it did not provide sufficient instruments to protect minors involved, who were often treated as young people with deviant or problematic behavior rather than victims of sexual exploitation. The research will be carried out with the Sphéres project, located in the city of Montreal. In-depth interviews will be conducted with its members, and the researcher will also participate in team discussion meetings over the 12 months period of this research. The main objective of the research is to understand the scope of this change in legislation and how it affects the relationship established between educators, social workers and psychologists with adolescents, as well as in the reorganization of youth protection services. In order to reach this main objective, the following steps were established: 1) profile the young people assisted in the Sphéres project: age, sex/gender/sexual orientation, race, nationality/immigration status, school situation, family socioeconomic conditions, place of residence/shelter, etc.; 2) collect the stories of their involvement with the sex market; 3) identify the difficulties faced by social workers operating in this region in the period prior to the approval of above mentioned legislative Bill; 4) identify open possibilities as well as possible difficulties arising from this legal change. (AU)

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