Friday, March 10, 2000 8:34 PM

Looking for refuge for child prostitutes

REGINA, SASK — It's a shocking scenario, but true. Children, as young as 9 years old, have been turning tricks in Regina, selling their bodies to pedophiles.

"The youngest (prostitute) that we've been in contact with is 9." …Christine Deiter Now, there could be help for them, if a Regina woman gets her way.

Christine Deiter is turning to the community for help. She has a motor home that's been used as a temporary refuge for about 30 'regulars'. But she says what's really needed is a network of 'safe homes', where the children can go to escape the life of prostitution.

She says child prostitution is a real problem in the city. "The youngest that we've been in contact with is 9. And then they just go up from here. The youngest male we've had contact with is 14.", she says.

Melinda Dubois has been a prostitute for 3 years. She agrees help is needed, but she's not sure it'll work for everyone. "Most of these girls, they're stubborn you know and they go I'm in trouble now and they'll change their minds and they'll just be back out there again. But I think it would be good for young girls."

Deiter's idea of a safe home would be similar to a foster home. The child would stay there up to 48 hours. During that time counsellors would visit, to work with the child and decide where to go next.

But Deiter says getting families to offer up their homes as safe houses is going to be hard sell. "I imagine they're worried about the risk of their children being in the house, the risk of their possessions, and maybe a pimp showing up in the night", she says.

Deiter's goal is to find 10 homes for the children.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 19, 2001
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