Demonstrators gathered in Terrace Sept. 9 for an anti-pedophilia and anti-sex-trafficking demonstration.
It was part of the Save Our Children protest movement, which has seen demonstrations across North America in recent months, fuelled in part by events surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, a millionaire and convicted child sex offender.
The group of about 15 demonstrators congretated in the lawn by Hwy 16, across the road from Boston Pizza. They held up signs and cheered as vehicles driving by honked in support.
Stephen Burton, one of the organizers of the event, said convicted child sex offenders in Canada receive sentences that are too lenient.
“I want the system be reformed in Canada because I feel like pedophiles, they are protected. I know the Privacy Act is more to protect the victim more than the pedophile themselves, but the reality is the pedophiles are the ones that end up being protected,” he said. “They can touch a child and be out of jail in two years.”
Burton said he grew up in Terrace and he believes there are several child sex offenders living discreetly in town.
“The amount of pedophiles that are in Terrace alone that people don’t even know are there, is astronomical, in fact ridiculous,” he said.
Aleena McKay, another organizer of the event, said she knows child sexual abuse is a very sensitive topic, but the issue needs to be discussed in order to break a cycle of abuse that cascades through generations.
She said society doesn’t currently have a good answer for what should be done with child sex offenders.
“If there’s nothing we can do about them, why not microchip them, track them, have an alert system set up?” she asked. “Red zones; schools, swimming pools, places where children frequently go to and boundaries set up so that if a violent sexual predator were to cross that boundary or that line, it would alert the police.”
Burton and McKay said more demonstrations like this are being planned in Terrace and the Nass Valley.