Canadian law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child define sexual exploitation as the exchange of any sexual activities by someone 18 years of age or younger for money, drugs, food, shelter or other goods and services. Giving a young person money or other things in exchange for sex is a form of sexual abuse and a violation of their right to freedom from sexual coersion. Homeless youth are at serious risk of sexual exploitation. Approximately 1 in 3 homeless youth report being exploited, and Indigenous, refugee and immigrant, and LGBTQ youth are at an even greater risk. Despite these risks, there is little research that has looked at those under the age of 19, even though many homeless youth are subjected to multiple risks in adolescence or earlier.
Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Buccieri, K., Karabanow, J., & Marsolais, A. (Eds.), Youth Homelessness in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.