WINNIPEG – A new pilot project is being launched in Manitoba aimed at preventing missing and abducted children from crossing the United States border.
The Canada Border Services Agency is teaming up with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to train its officers how to intercept missing children.
Since 1986, there have been 1,800 missing children that have been rescued at Canada’s borders.
The two agencies are already partners and border officers are already taught to recognize red flags.
This project aims to hone their tactics.
Jessica Huzyk with the child protection centre says they deal with cases where children have run away, or where they’ve been abducted by a parent.
The centre will provide support to officers in specific cases where they must intervene, such as an abduction and family reunification, or instances where children or youth may be at risk of sexual exploitation.
“If a child is confused about what the purpose of the travel is and what the relationship with the person they’re travelling with, that’s a red flag for us,” says Jeryn Peters of the CBSA.
“If there’s custody issues we may be looking at do they have a custody agreement with them that speaks to the access and the ability to travel between provinces and across borders.”
Once the pilot project finishes in Manitoba, CBSA and the child protection centre will consider expanding the project to other provinces.