MOBILIS is basically a protocol for sharing information about street gangs and their prostitution-related activities. The two main partners in the protocol are the Centre jeunesse de la Montérégie (CJM) (Montérégie youth centre) and the Longueuil Police Service (LPS). As soon as the protocol took effect, two CJM workers were hired, and a dedicated squad of police investigators was assigned to the project. The project’s success led the partners to continue MOBILIS, with Phase 2 to focus mainly on the prevention of juvenile prostitution and membership in street gangs.
The initiative has several objectives:
Phase 1: Criminal investigation branch, in partnership with the Centre jeunesse de la Montérégie,
and Phase 2: Regional surveillance branch—Prevention
The City of Longueuil Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ), a regional council of elected officials, and the Forum jeunesse Longueuil (Longueuil youth forum) are financial partners. Maison de jeunes Kekpart (a youth house) has gotten involved in the project by promoting their juvenile prostitution prevention program ("no pimps, no escorts") at high schools in the city of Longueuil.
Since September 2008.
To tackle juvenile prostitution in connection with street gangs.
In the police department, a detective lieutenant was freed up to work on the issue. There were five detective sergeants, one intelligence officer and one strategic analyst working under him.Two CJM caseworkers were freed up to work on the project full time.At Maison de jeunes Kekpart, two caseworkers were hired to promote the “no pimps, no escorts” program at city high schools.
Initially, CJM and LPS partnered to combat the problem by sharing information in order to facilitate police investigations. They went in search of funding to achieve their goals. CRÉ and Forum jeunesse Longueuil then became involved. They subsequently approached Maison de jeunes Kekpart to promote a prevention program in the schools. Kekpart already had experience and expertise in the prevention of juvenile prostitution.Each partner therefore had a role to play in combating the problem.CJM undertook to share all the information at the caseworkers’ disposal (except for the names of the young girls if they said no). Consequently, the names of the pimps and their friends, party location(s) and descriptions of the suspects’ vehicles were provided to the police for their investigations.The police force provided CJM with information about pimps who might be recruiting young girls from the CJM system. This enabled the caseworkers to intervene more effectively with the young girls. In addition, LPS investigators launched operations against the pimp networks. A specialized team was freed up and worked solely on the issue of juvenile prostitution. The team acted quickly whenever young girls disclosed they had been sexually abused. The police also worked with the Montérégie Regional Joint Street Gang Enforcement Squad, which was tackling the same issues.CRÉ and Forum jeunesse Longueuil provided financial support for the project. Maison de jeunes Kekpart looked after the prevention aspect in area high schools. The workers visited classrooms (usually in Secondary 2 or 3) and spent two weeks at each school to interact with young people on their turf. The LPS prevention officers helped caseworkers from Maison de jeunes Kekpart to build bridges with the high schools. Joint presentations were made to the school boards to talk about the problem and the partnership between LPS and Maison de jeunes Kekpart.
There were several project outcomes based on the objectives that were established:
Your body is not a commodity—prevent juvenile prostitution.
There is growing interest in this kind of partnership. Multiple sectors have to work together, particularly since victims tend not to cooperate with police.Juvenile prostitution is a Quebec-wide problem, and young girls in the Centres jeunesse continue to be the pimps’ prime targets because of their vulnerability.The Sûreté du Québec, the RCMP and the Ottawa Police have expressed an interest in the program.The MOBILIS project received the equality award, which rewards tangible actions that contribute significantly to improving equality between women and men. The project was singled out in the violence prevention category, and also received the people’s “Coup de coeur” award. These awards are presented by the Quebec Secrétariat à la condition feminine (Quebec’s Secretariat for the Status of Women).In addition, Phase 2 of the project will focus mainly on the prevention of juvenile prostitution while continuing to work on information sharing and repression.
This project affects a large number of stakeholders. The clash of perceptions between social workers and police officers, the link between social work and the court process, and support for victims who are sometimes reluctant to cooperate make this project unique.Very few projects have the same group of social workers and police officers working together on a daily basis for such a long period of time.