Justice Institute of B.C.

Adult Sex Trade Information

While we know that sexual exploitation does not stop when an individual turns 18, the reality is that adult sex workers are treated differently than youth in the eyes of the law, service providers and other institutions.  Adult sex workers do not have access to the same programs as sexually exploited youth and most adult-serving organizations will refer youth to specific programs aimed at serving their needs. 

Talking with adult sex workers in BC, you may find that whether or not they want to exit the trade, they are in need of resources to improve their quality of life and enhance their choices.  The following resources will connect you with services for adult sex workers and information specifically about adult sex work. 

The focus of this toolkit was on youth, so we acknowledge that this list will provide you with only a starting place for education and information on the adult sex work in BC.

PEERS Victoria Providing front-line support and resources for adult sex workers in Victoria, BC, with an emphasis on a peer-based model of support.  Projects include a three-stage exiting program, free food and clothing, an outreach van, a men’s program, counseling and other supports.  
PEERS Vancouver PEERS Vancouver provides exiting programs, job training, lifeskills and other support to sex workers in Vancouver.  
PACE Vancouver PACE is a peer-based organization offering support, education, outreach and health services to sex workers in Vancouver.  PACE also offers workshops and other educational services to inform the community about the reality of working in the sex trade.  Also see their Research section to download reports from research projects they have completed.  
PEERS Prince George PEERS PG is a non-profit society established by sex workers and those wanting to exit the sex work industry, and community supporters.  PEERS PG is in the process of establishing programs including public education, research, advocacy, community partnerships and counselling services.

For more information about their programs, contact PPERS PG at


S.H.O.P. Program, Kamloops The S.H.O.P. Program (Social and Health Opportunities for People working in the sex trade) offers drop-in programs, support and advocacy for adults and youth involved in the sex trade. 

For more information contact:

AIDS Society of Kamloops


WISH Drop In Centre Drop in for sex trade workers in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.  
Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women The Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women is responsible for recommendations to the federal government on the needs of sex workers.  Coordinators from Victoria, Vancouver, Moncton and Winnipeg all sit on this committee, giving a voice to women with experience being sexually exploited as children or working in the sex trades as adults.  

B.C.  Coalition of Experiential Women

The B.C. Coalition of Experiential Women (BCCEW) was formed out of two regional meetings of women in and from the sex industry in 2002 and 2004. In 2005 BCCEW became a consortium of sex worker activists mandated as a mechanism for the voices of experiential women to support the development of legislation and policies; peer driven programs and services; and work toward the elimination of oppressive systems and forces that create harm within the sex industry.

For more information:

Maggie’s Toronto Maggie's is the first sex-worker-run education project in Canada. The project provides information about health promotion, AIDS and STD prevention, Canadian law, and dangerous clients to sex workers. Maggie's was founded in 1986.  The website provides downloadable reports, information cards and other educational resources about health and safety in the sex trade.  
Missingpeople.net A website dedicated to the women missing from Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, most of whom worked in the sex trade.  The website provides information on recent media coverage of the missing women’s case and links to other resources.  
“John School” in Vancouver The "John School" concept originated in San Francisco in January 1995 with over 300 men participating successfully in the first year. The program has been expanded and now includes more than 14 programs in Canada.  The school is based on a restorative justice model focusing on educating the offenders who are attempting to buy sex from prostitutes on the streets of Vancouver neighborhoods.

If you have questions and or comments please e-mail the Vice Squad directly at: vpd_vice@city.vancouver.bc.ca

John Lowman’s Prostitution research This website has information on research conducted by John Lowman, a leading criminologist and professor at SFU in Vancouver, with a focus on the adult sex trade in Canada.  
"Dispelling Myths and Understanding Realities—
Working Conditions, Health Status, and Exiting
Experiences of Sex Workers"
This study, conducted by PEERS Victoria, involved training ex-sex workers as research assistants who became involved in activities ranging from recruiting respondents, interviewing them, inputting questionnaire data, and transcribing tape recorded interviews creating a genuine community-academic collaboration. The sample included 201 respondents and looks at the sex trade from a work perspective, arguing that there is an urgent need to give voice to sex workers located in indoor as well as outdoor venues.  
Pathways: Real options for women to reduce reliance on survival sex Published by PEERS Vancouver, this document introduces practical ideas for organizations and groups to include and foster leadership from sex workers who access their services.    
Strolling Away Dr. Sue McIntyre conducted this long-term research, interviews with 38 individuals involved in the sex trade, many of whom had been interviewed 10 years earlier.  The interviews were held to collect their thoughts on the entrance, time in, attempts and successful departures out of the trade.  The opportunity to gain insights on service delivery model in reference to prevention, intervention and reintegration was provided through these interviews.  

New Hope Society

The Prince George New Hope Society was established in September of 2005 and follows the philosophy of 'for sex workers, by sex workers". New Hope recognizes that there is a lack of services for women in the sex industry. Front line workers strive to bridge the gap in services for sex workers through creating a place of safety and security for women, both adults and youth, to access support services pertinent to their needs. Some of the services they provide include drop-in services, meals, advocacy, referrals, transitional exiting programs, outreach, counselling, and harm reduction materials. New Hope Society is at the forefront in the northern community for doing research around the needs of street level sex workers.

For more information contact:
Christal Capostinsky, Executive Director

CIHS (Community Initiative for Health and Safety) Toolkit

Resources for and about street-level sex workers in Vancouver.


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