SPACES stands for Sex, Power, Agency, Consent, Environment & Safety and is a research study about people of all genders who are involved in the off-street sex industry in Vancouver as service providers (sex workers), clients and third party facilitators and support staff. This study aims to help us better understand how the physical, organizational and managerial contexts of the off-street work environment interact to affect the health and safety of sex workers in Vancouver. We hope to develop knowledge that allows us to make recommendations for addressing self-governance and informing public health interventions dedicated to improving the health and safety of sex industry workers.

Between 2012-2016 our teams undertook a CIHR funded research study about people of all genders involved in the off-street sex industry in Vancouver as service providers (sex workers), clients and third party facilitators and support staff. The SPACES study aimed to help us better understand how the physical, organizational and managerial contexts of the off-street work environment interact to affect the health and safety of sex workers in Vancouver. This project partnered and succeeded from the involvement and guidance of those from varying sectors of the off-street Vancouver sex industry community. These efforts took the form of: an advisory of community experts that was influential at all stages of the research process; focus groups with sex industry and community actors undertaken throughout the project; community feedback on reports; and, a community forum held near the end of the project with industry actors, community members, policy makers, and allies to review the data and develop expert-driven and evidence based recommendations intended to inform advocacy efforts, enhance community capacity, and to promote dignity, respect, safety, health and people’s rights to self-determination.