Written by Ally Paige
EGADZ has relaunched its ‘I Am Not 4 Sale App’ which is designed to be a be a tool or resource for vulnerable young women, men and children that are being sexually exploited.
Don Meikle, EGADZ Executive Director, said that the app can be utilized anywhere throughout the province.
“Let's say you're going through town, and you land up in Swift Current, and you need an emergency service, he said. “You need a place to stay, you go on the app, you click on Swift Current, and it'll lift the resources and also the different websites. It's quite a unique app and, you know, it's very focused on the client.”
The app offers many different features, such as allowing users to discretely and anonymously have emergency services sent to their location immediately. Users can also connect 24/7 with EGADZ counsellors and see the real-time location of the EGADZ Street Outreach vans.
Meikle said that the relaunch came after listening to feedback from the community.
“This started through our Sexual Exploitation Intervention Committee,” he said. “So, when we started looking at it again, it was getting quite outdated. The kids thought it would be really good that if they agreed to it, that we would know if they're in trouble. They could just click help me now, it'll show their location, but it will also show the kids out in the street where the vans are. So, if they're in trouble, the people on the street would know that the van isn't very far away.”
Also included in the relaunch is access to outreach services 24/7.
The Ministry of Social Services provided nearly $50,000 to support the redevelopment of the I Am Not 4 Sale app and website.
Meikle added that although they hope that the app never has to be used, it is available should the circumstance arrive.
“I always say I hope we never have to use it, but we've had to use the old one,” he said. “And that isn't near the app that this one is. I often talk about a young lady in the states who was being pimped out in a hotel room. Through our old app, we were able to help the police in the United States break up that ring, so it does have its uses. And like I said, I hope we never have to use it, but if somebody is in the United States of America and they agree to share their location, or in Montreal, or wherever they agree to share their location, we'll be able to pinpoint exactly where they are and be able to work with the police to rescue people.”
EGADZ is a nationally and internationally recognized social innovator and won Saskatchewan's first Governor General's Award for Innovation in 2019.