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This project is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and runs from 2011-2016.

Team members include: Benoit, C. (NPA), Atchison, C., Casey, L., Jackson, L., Jansson, M., McCarthy, B., Phillips, R., Reist, D., Shaver, F., Spittal, P., Walby, K. (Co-PIs); Abel, G., Bass, M, Fitzgerald, L., Goodyear, M., Hallgrimsdottir, H., Michelow, W., Reimer, W., Shannon, K. (Co-Is); West, V. (PKU); Gerber, J., Pacey, K., Poag, E., Wellman, T., Shabna, A. (KUs); Capyk, S., Davis, S., Hakkarainen, P., Healy, C., Johnston, B., Mrnka, M., Paterson, J., Porth, K., Teegee, M., Young, A. (Collaborators).

The priority that Canadians place on health is reflected in the dramatic decrease in premature mortality and increase in disability-adjusted life expectancy in recent decades. Yet, these benefits are not shared equally by all Canadians.

This research program focuses on the sources of differences in health and safety among one of these groups: sex workers, many of whom face elevated risks of violence and premature death.

Though research has explored the current legislative context of prostitution in Canada, few studies have systematically investigated the work of police, regulatory agencies and social service providers, as well as the behaviours of customers, managers, and intimate partners as social determinants of sex workers' safety and health.

Our research program draws together a multi-sectoral team of knowledge users, collaborators, scholars and trainees, many who have worked for over two decades to raise public awareness about these issues.

The team will work collaboratively to

  1. identify key factors linked to violence and vulnerabilities in the Canadian sex industry at systems, social, and individual levels;
  2. estimate the impact of gender on violence-related links between sex workers, clients, romantic partners, supervisors, regulators, and service providers;
  3. ensure that useful knowledge generated by the research program informs policies and practices aimed at improving the safety and health of sex workers and those they relate to at work and in their personal lives.
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