Small squad tackles big problem

Police focus on youth in the sex trade

  • Jan. 25, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Cst. Theresa Tuttle is going to bat for youth involved in the sex trade.

Police focus on youth in the sex trade

Constable Theresa Tuttle is the compassionate squad of one who is going to bat for youngsters in the clutches of the sex trade. The member of the Victoria Police Department has been working the Mobile Youth Service Team (MYST) beat for about a year.

Constable Tuttle was in Sooke on January 17, bringing the District’s Committee of the Whole up to speed on the MYST program.

Tuttle’s efforts take place across the Capital Region and portions of the program’s funding come from the various jurisdictions therein.

Sooke had apparently withheld its latest contribution of $1,687.03. Mayor Janet Evans explained.

“We hadn’t heard how it was going, whether it was successful or what. So we didn’t want to just write a cheque.

“With her explanation… she’s just been at it a year… the information she provided was exactly what we were looking for. They got the point across and it’s well worth it.”

District Council, one week later, voted to provide funding.

In basic terms the program is a challenge for Cst. Tuttle… a very high stakes battle for the minds and bodies young people. She outlined the scope of the problem and indicated that no part of the Capital Region is immune from the damaging effects of the sex trade.

The value of a program with a worker who is free to cross municipal boundaries was emphasized, first by Cst. Tuttle and also by Bill McElroy, a longtime volunteer and Sooke resident with considerable related experience.

Tuttle, the following day at Victoria Police Headquarters, was asked about the scope of youth in the sex trade, whether it could be described, for example, as an epidemic.

“I don’t know about that, but for a family, for a youth involved, it’s critical…” she said, “it’s devastating.”

There are numerous aspects of the process leading an innocent young person toward the sordid sex trade – Tuttle and McElroy both pointed out how gradually the recruitment occurs. It’s likely to start out with expensive gifts, complements, and all-too-frequently, with drugs. In fact, if there were one component they could tackle on the way to dealing with the problem, both agree the component would be drugs.

Councillor Maja Tait, at the Jan. 17 C.O.W. meeting, weighed in on the issue relating a personal experience.

She described being on the bus and happening to witness a couple of “very healthy looking young girls.” She said she overheard “talking and texting” which amounted to negotiations for sex with a “smelly old guy” for as little as a “six pack of Lucky.”

This sort of account went a long way toward portraying the immediacy of the issue.

All in attendance agreed that any continuing effort and expense to prevent the recruitment of youth for the sex trade, or the rescue of those already involved, is well spent.

Just Posted

Yarns, string and human hair pose a risk to Greater Victoria birds

Wild ARC handles a number of entanglement cases each year

Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts visits Victoria for Comic Con

He says he’s looking forward to the event, but don’t ask him where the snake is

UPDATED: Missing Victoria man found dead in Port Renfrew

Police continuing investigation, death not considered suspicious

Free blood type tattoo with donation draws crowds in Finland

One in two people is eligible and able to donate blood, but only one in 60 people actually do

Greater Victoria workforce gets older but also more diverse

By 2036, Greater Victoria will have roughly two workers for every person 65 years and older

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per ceny

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Most Read