Sex Work Population Project

Who are We?

We are a loosely knit group of researchers and allies with an interest in the realities of those involved in the adult industry in Canada. We focus on using publicly available archival data in combination with relevant qualitative research to provide a more realistic picture of who does sex work in Canada and how they engage with the industry and society at large.

Published Peer-Reviewed Research


Ongoing Research

  • Worker longevity and turnover in the industry. One of the claims in the Silent Majority paper is that many workers leave the industry – either permanently or temporarily. This research looks at a group of 77 advertisers from the Power Users study. These advertisers listed workers on their websites so it was possible to track the number of workers who were absent from one month to the next from October 2022. As of July 2023, turnover ranged 15-17% – about 3 times the average for Canadian workers. (Data and supplemental materials – see the “Turnover and longevity” folder.) (cached)
  • Ad views. Ad pages from a classifieds site that provides statistics on views were captured daily to see how often ads were viewed. Data was collected between July 9 and August 10, 2023. During this period, ads were viewed median 128 times per day per ad (IQR 64-248, mean 195, SD 234, N=62582 ads). Client interest based on demographic data does not seem to conform to literature on price (image; see also Nelson et al. 2019 below). Summing the maximum daily visits for each region and ad category suggests that there were up to 433,962 daily visitors to the site. How to model the number of clients represented in this data is an open question. (Data and supplemental materials.) (cached)

Open Research Questions

Our interests are evolving. These points represent some unresolved questions at the moment:

  • What is the best way to integrate qualitative and archival research in this area? (See the pre-prints for examples.)
  • How can we create the most accurate and complete data possible?
  • How can researchers effectively share archival data without revealing personally identifying information?
  • How can we improve models to better understand the data?
  • Is there a role for computer simulation in this type of research?

Ethics Statement

We understand that privacy and security are critically important for sex workers and allies. We also understand that reproducible results and collaboration are essential for research to progress.

  • We respect the privacy of our collaborators. Contributors will never be asked to reveal their identity unless they so choose.
  • All archival data was publicly available at the time of collection and was collected in accordance with the policies of the archival sources at the time of collection.
  • All data collected is stored in a secure manner.
  • Any datasets shared with researchers are anonymized.


Some relevant background research from external sources.


Canadian academic research:

Canadian NGO reports:


Via e-mail: