The provincial government provided an update on how the revived StreetReach North program has been going in Thompson.
Families Minster Rochelle Squires stated between June 2020 August 2021, StreetReach helped return 473 children and youth to their placements or places of safety. She adds the program helped with relationship building efforts between the youth and various partners, including the Thompson RCMP detachment and Awasis Agency.
Acting commander of the Manitoba RCMP North District Chris Hastie says missing persons reports between 2019 and 2020 dropped from approximately 2, 300 to 1, 500, a decrease of 35 per cent. Hastie explains the city is on track to staying at around 1, 500 missing persons reports for 2021 as well.
Mayor Colleen Smook says StreetReach has not only been a boon for at-risk youth in the community, but it has also served as an obstacle for those looking to exploit them. She adds it’s also beneficial to youth from surrounding communities who live in Thompson, as many end up moving to the city to attend high school if their community doesn't have one or if they require services or programs that aren't available in their communities.
Manitoba announced StreetReach North was coming back to Thompson in 2019, and invested $2.1 million over the course of three years as a way to protect at risk children and youth from being victimized through the sex trade.