Good day,

We will be closing down the survey and interview portion of the Sex, Safety and Security project on the 15th of January. At that time we will begin the vital, but time consuming, process of transcribing and sorting through the 100s of hours of interviews and analyzing the wealth of survey responses about the diverse experiences of people who purchase sexual services in Canada. We will use this information to generate legislative and policy reports, academic analyses, and media statements that adequately represent the full range of the contributions and experiences of the men, women and couples who have taken the time and opportunity to speak out through this project.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many patrons and sex professionals who are members of this community who have provided such positive feedback and support for the Sex, Safety and Security project over the past year. Thanks to your contributions this project will represent the largest and most comprehensive collection of the voices and experiences of people involved in the purchase of the sexual services acquired to date!
As many of you might be aware, the recent successful challenge to Canadian prostitution laws has paved the way for important changes to be made to Canadian legal, social and health policy relating to the sale and purchase of sexual services. For the first time in almost 30 years there is a real opportunity for Canada to lead the way in adopting an approach to regulating the sex industry that enhances the rights, freedoms, dignity, health, and safety of ALL people involved.

Opinions are deeply divided as to what legal and policy model should be adopted. On the one hand, many sex industry professionals and advocates, health and social service providers, academic researchers, politicians and members of the general public have expressed support for either decriminalizing or legalizing activities associated with the sale and purchase of sexual services. While individuals and groups supporting such approaches do not necessarily agree on the nature or extent of ‘regulations’ that should be applied to the industry, they all appear to share the conviction that criminalizing all or some of the activities or actors involved only serves to increase the likelihood of health and safety risks for those involved in commercial sexual exchanges. On the other hand, there are religious and women’s rights advocacy groups who have renewed their call for the implementation of the “Nordic model,” a regulatory approach that criminalizes the purchase of sexual services while keeping the sale of sexual services legal (i.e., decriminalized). These groups argue that people who pay for sexual services pose a "risk" to the health and safety of sex workers and that implementing this model of asymmetric criminalization would not place women involved in the sale of sexual services in harm’s way.

Results from our previous research played a central role in shaping the legal, political and social debates that surrounded the recent successful legal challenge. They also helped us make it clear to the various groups involved in ongoing debates about the future of Canada's prostitution law and policy that it is absolutely vital to include and listen to people who pay for sexual services.

Regardless of what type of legal solution is eventually adopted in Canada, we believe that it is more important than ever that statements made about the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of the diversity of people who pay for sexual services in Canada be based on actual evidence and not on speculation and stereotypes. We also want to make sure that the important conversations about prostitution law and policy that we have in Canada over the next year are inclusive of the diversity of people directly involved in these exchanges and not simply reflections of the positions of advocates of a particular legal or social position.

For those of you who still wish to make your contribution to this important and one of a kind project, it is not too late. The online and downloadable survey will remain accessible until the 15th of January ( We will also be scheduling conversational interviews (telephone and in-person) until the 30th of January with the final interviews being completed on or before the 15th of February.

Be well,

Chris Atchison
Department of Sociology
University of Victoria
email: [email protected]
phone: 604.558.0489
toll-free: 1.855.795.0069
Twitter: @SexSafetySecure