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 Research

Current Research

  • The meaning of “no”: A simple way to see how workers communicate limits in large data sets is to look at the words that immediately precede or follow a single word. There are many ways that the word “no” is used and it is an important word for communicating health and safety information. (On SocArXiv) (supplemental materials) (cached)
  • Sex work post COVID-19. This follows up on the original Silent Majority study. Data is being collected from Site 3 (see PLOS ONE paper above) from 2021-09-15 and is ongoing. A qualitative study of ~700 advertisers who used external websites is also being conducted to provide background. See our Twitter feed for updates.

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?
  • 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:

Theoretical background:


Via e-mail:

On twitter @SexWorkPopCA