The Law - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

The Law

Help is available to children sexually exploited children and youth across Alberta.

What’s the law?

The Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA) allows police and Children’s Services caseworkers to remove sexually exploited children from dangerous situations to ensure their safety and well-being. This is based on a few key principles:

  • Children involved in prostitution are victims of child sexual abuse.
  • Children have a right to physical and emotional safety, security and well-being.
  • Children have a right to be safe from sexual abuse and protected from sexual exploitation.
  • If a child or youth is involved in prostitution, their family and caregivers do not require child intervention.

Services available to support victims

Under PSECA, there are a variety of voluntary community support services available to assist a child or youth in ending their involvement in sexual exploitation.

  • 16 and 17-year-old youths, who may not be living at home or have guardian support can access all available support services without parental or guardian permission.
  • Youth who have an agreement under PSECA at age 18 can continue to receive support services up to age 24.

A sexually exploited child can be placed in a protective safe-house up to five days.

  • During this placement, the child is assessed for child-protection needs, medical concerns, drug and alcohol use, family support and their level of risk related to their involvement in sexual exploitation.

If the assessment determines that the child continues to need protection, a caseworker can apply to Family Court for up to two additional 21-day periods of confinement.

  • During the placement period, the child will be offered a variety of services including drug and alcohol counselling, medical supports, counselling or psychological services, educational programming, cultural supports and life skills support.
  • These services are tailored to meet the individual needs of each child in a holistic manner.
  • The additional time spent in the protective safe house allows staff to work with the child or youth, help them to break the cycle of abuse and begin the recovery in a safe and secure environment.

Rights Protection

As soon as a child involved in prostitution is placed in a protective safe house, the child is informed in writing about:

  • Why he or she was removed from the risk situation
  • The duration of the placement
  • Court dates
  • Their right to legal representation

The child is also given an opportunity to contact a lawyer and told he or she may request a court review of the confinement.

Want to know more?

Read a short brochure outlining PSECA and what it means for youth and families.

To view or purchase a copy of the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act, contact the Queen’s Printer.

Modified: 2018-05-02
PID: 15416