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.
- Kennedy L (2022) The silent majority: The typical Canadian sex worker may not be who we think. PLoS ONE 17(11): e0277550. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0277550 (cached) (press release) (data and supplementary materials)
- Kennedy L (2023) The changing meaning Of “No” In Canadian sex work advertising: Peace of mind, safety and race. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/w5qfj (cached) (data and supplemental materials) (Culture, Health and Sexuality review) This was a review of an earlier version of the study which has now been extensively revised.
- Kennedy L (2023) Power users: Canadian sex workers’ use of technology post COVID. SocArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/u5kd2 (cached) (data and supplemental materials)
- Worker 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 May 2023, average turnover was 15% (SD 1%) – about 3 times the number for Canadian office workers and on par with the Food Service industry.
- Ad views. Data collection is underway for a study of how often ads get viewed. Ad pages from a classifieds site that provides statistics on views were captured at various points in time to see how often ads were viewed per day. Preliminary results are median 130 views per day per ad (IQR 54-274, mean 293, SD 1173, N=100753 ads) with one ad averaging over 89k views per day. There were 176 ads with rates of 10k or more per day.
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?
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.
- Abel, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Brunton, C. (2007). The Impact of the Prostitution Reform Act on the Health and Safety Practices of Sex Workers (p. 213). Department of Public Health and General Practice University of Otago, Christchurch. https://www.otago.ac.nz/christchurch/otago018607.pdf
- Abel, G. M. (2014). A decade of decriminalization: Sex work ‘down under’ but not underground. Criminology & Criminal Justice: An International Journal, 14(5), 580–592. Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=i3h&AN=98977147&site=ehost-live
Canadian academic research:
- Allen, M., & Rotenberg, C. (2021). Crimes related to the sex trade: Before and after legislative changes in Canada (No. 85-002-X202100100010). Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2021001/article/00010-eng.htm
- Jeffrey, L. A., & MacDonald, G. (2006). “It’s the Money, Honey”: The Economy of Sex Work in the Maritimes*. The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 43(3), 313–327. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/money-honey-economy-sex-work-maritimes/docview/234927847/se-2?accountid=13800
- O’Doherty, T. (2007). Off-street Commercial Sex: An exploratory Study [Thesis (M.A.), Simon Fraser University]. http://summit.sfu.ca/item/8064
- O’Doherty, T. (2011). Criminalization and Off-Street Sex Work in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 53(2), 217–245.
Canadian NGO reports:
- Pivot Legal Society. (2006). Beyond Decriminalization : Sex Work, Human Rights and a New Framework for Law Reform (p. 229). http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/pivotlegal/legacy_url/275/BeyondDecrimLongReport.pdf?1345765615
- Pivot Legal Society Sex Work Subcommittee. (2004). Voices for Dignity: A Call to End the Harms Caused by Canada’s Sex Trade Laws (p. 40). https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/pivotlegal/pages/85/attachments/original/1345748515/voicesfordignity.pdf?1345748515
- Benoit, C., & Millar, A. (2001). Dispelling Myths and Understanding Realities: Working Conditions, Health Status, and Exiting Experiences of Sex Workers.
- Weitzer, R. (2009). The Sociology of Sex Work. Annual Review of Sociology, 35(1), 213–234. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-120025