The West Ender
September 5, 1996

Mary Frances Hill

p. 3.

Child Abuse

Fry joins fight against global
child sex trade

In her days as a Vancouver physician treating kids in her local patients homes, Hedy Fry saw in her patients the effects of crime and their potential roots -- young victims of abuse, devalued in society's eyes, vulnerable to life on the streets and prey to men willing to pay for their bodies.

"I've seen a lot of kids who were in group homes, and nearly always these kids have run away from abusive homes," Fry said in an interview from Stockholm, Sweden.

Years later, as Canada's secretary of state for the status of women and multiculturalism, the Vancouver Centre MP's experiences echoed through the Stolkhom conference halls, where she was a delegate at the first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.

Delegates at the conference hear of the attitudes of men who pay for sexual relations -- they either ignore the possibility the girl may be underage, or seek out young girls, because they think the younger the girl, the less chance she has a disease, says Fry.

Fry says the federal government is working to ensure people who violate underage prostitutes abroad be prosecuted under Canadian law. Regardless of any global plans, the responsibility of safeguarding children begins within communities and the family, she says.

"We should recognize the child in the world is the future of the world. We can have economic policies till the cows come home. If we don't have young people who are well adjusted and who are cared for, what are we passing out world on to?"

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Created: September 5, 1996
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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