Community services groups keep an eye on sex trade 

Youth exploitation a concern during the Games

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Even though the free workshops were offered to most hotels in Whistler, no one accepted the invitation.

"There was definitely some hesitation, which I think came from a couple reasons," said Tara Souch through her role with the Women's Safety Network. "There was hesitation about the content and just because it is so busy leading up to the Games."

Souch said the groups plan to try to run the workshop again once the Olympics wrap up.

The Howe Sound Women's Centre is operating a safe room in Whistler throughout the Olympics. The room is open 24 hours a day at an undisclosed location and workers there are providing services to women who encounter violence during the Games, including youth exploitation and sexual assault.

 

Olympics have not increased sex tourism: Solicitor General

Despite media reports over the past few months speculating that sex tourism would rise exponentially during the Olympics, B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said that isn't happening.

Kash Heed's ministry has been closely watching different indicators of the sex trade - like who crosses the border and what is being posted on Craigslist.org - and so far officials haven't seen anything to show a significant rise in demand.

"I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you have families here, and you have people that are out there just enjoying the festivities," he said, noting the Olympic crowd may differ from a World Cup crowd.

"That is not to be naive to the fact that when you have a large group of people attending specific areas that some of them do partake in the demand for sex trade, but we have not see a clear indicator that there has been a dramatic increase in human trafficking of people or even the domestic trafficking of sex trade workers."

The Solicitor General added his ministry has also been paying close attention to what is happening in Whistler. And the sex trade in the Sea to Sky corridor right now is no different from the region's usual sex trade.

"You have escort agencies that are there that are involved in the sex trade that have been working the corridor up to Whistler for years and years," said Heed.

"You are a resort community, a sport community and the supply and demand formula is used there and there has been a demand there for sex trade workers to come into your community and they have been there for several years to fill that demand."

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