APTN National News
WINNIPEG – At 5 a.m. Sunday an intoxicated child welfare “runaway” was seen stumbling near corner of Ellice Avenue and Young Street.
It wasn’t clear where she was coming from or what happened to her, and she was just wearing a bra and pants.
But the “girl in the shadows” was there.
Her first instinct was to help.
She offered the 16-year-old Aboriginal girl a cigarette.
“I asked her what happened and she didn’t remember,” says the young woman connected to the streets in Winnipeg who requested anonymity. She was recently profiled by APTN who called her the “girl in the shadows.”
For this story we’ll call her “Hope.”
“I asked her if she wanted me to call an ambulance,” she said.
The girl didn’t want one called.
But she needed someone.
“I didn’t want her to take off so I couldn’t make the call myself,” said Hope, who texted someone to call police and for them to come to Ellice and Young.
A police officer said “don’t let her go” before they could come and take her to safety.
They did arrive and took her somewhere to get help.
“She’s in their hands,” said Hope on Sunday an hour after helping the girl. “Victory.”
APTN asked Winnipeg police to confirm the information and if Child and Family Services was involved.
“Yes, a 16-year-old girl was located. CFS was notified and the female was taken to an appropriate location to ensure she remained safe,” said police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen.
He said a follow-up investigation into a possible attack or assault wasn’t immediately launched.
“No, not at this time,” said Michalyshen. “The female was not forthcoming with information.”
APTN spent a few days in June walking the streets in Winnipeg. Reporters came across a young woman who looks out for kids on the street.
She sits in the shadows writing down license plates of men trolling for sex workers, particularly one who is her friend, on the edge of downtown.
Winnipeg has a problem with youth being exploited, so much so they developed a specialized project aimed at ” protecting youth within our city who are at high risk of being sexually exploited.”
The project hit the streets June 18 looking for youth being exploited.
They checked 46 addresses for missing youth.
Five “at risk” youth between the ages of 14-15 were found and taken to safety.