The committee heard from 147 women across Ontario. (Shutterstock)"These young women, girls really, underaged girls and children, are being forced into sex work in our cities and towns, and they really are the girls next door," said Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott.
"We need to send resources to law enforcement and to the justice system so there is a concentrated team that works throughout the province, because these girls are trafficked widely throughout the province on a daily basis," said Scott.
"They really are the girls next door."
Tracy MacCharles, the minister of children and youth services who is responsible for a sexual violence and harassment bill that is now before the legislature, said the committee's recommendations, including the call for a task force, will help strengthen her bill. "I'm open to all good ideas on this," said MacCharles. "I'll be sitting down with the premier on this." Liberal Daiene Vernile, who chaired the committee, said it's up to the government to decide how to proceed, but she wants to make sure the recommendations are implemented. "For many witnesses, it was very difficult for them to appear before this committee, and reliving the trauma of being violated," she said. "But they did so hoping that there would be some kind of positive outcome, and we don't want to let them down." The committee found almost 60 per cent of sexual assault victims in Canada are under the age of 18, and a quarter of them are under the age of 12. Most victims — 92 per cent — are women, and the overwhelming majority of attackers — 99 per cent — were men. It also found Ontario lacks up-to-date statistics about the incidence of sexual harassment and childhood sexual abuses, and doesn't have a standardized system to track cases of human trafficking. Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter
"I don't think any of us were prepared for what we heard."
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