Manitoba woman says she was led into sex trade while under CFS care

A Manitoba woman once under the watch of the province's Child and Family Services, says hotel stays for kids in care are dangerous.

Union slams 'rushed' facility for at-risk girls in Winnipeg. CBC's Chris Glover reports.

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

7 years ago
As the government is under fire about a new facility for at-risk girls, it released new numbers showing the number of children in care in the province has jumped to more than 10,000. 2:10

A Manitoba woman once under the guardianship of the province's Child and Family Services, says hotel stays for kids in care are dangerous.

The woman, now 18, says she was led into the sex trade while living in a hotel and under the watch of a CFS-contracted private care company.

At 15, a CFS worker sent her to a Best Western hotel in Winnipeg, where the contracted supervisor rarely watched her and the girl ended up following an older girl who sold sex.

"It brings down yourself worth. You just feel like nobody when you were doing that," she said. "I felt like I was trapped in it."

On Wednesday, the province announced how it is acting on remaining recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry, which looked at the failings in Manitoba's CFS care.

The inquiry was prompted by the death of the five-year-old girl, who spent much of her life in care and was horrifically abused and ultimately beaten to death after being returned to her mother.

A new data base and critical incident legislation are being implemented, plus a new six-bed facility for at-risk girls is opening today.

The province also said it is committed to cutting down the amount of stays CFS kids spend in hotels.

But the 18-year-old who spoke to CBC News says the new steps announced by Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross don't go far enough. The woman wants to see the hotel program scrapped entirely.

More is needed to keep young people safe under CFS care and the steps just announced by the provincial family services minister don't go far enough, says a Manitoba girl who was introduced to the sex trade while in foster care. (CBC)
“I think that if they had more [home] placements and put more money into group homes — actual structured facilities and foster homes — instead of putting all the money in the hotels [it would be better]," she said.

For her part, the woman is now turning her life around, studying to get into college. She said she wants to get into social work and help change the system from within.