UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Information and Communication Technologies in Commercial Sex Work: A Double-Edged Sword for Occupational Health and Safety Jiao, Sunny; Bungay, Vicky; Jenkins, Emily (Emily K.), 1981-; Jiao, Sunny


Over the previous decade, there has been a notable shift within sex work marketplaces, with many aspects of the work now facilitated via the internet. Many providers and clients are also no longer engaging in in-person negotiations, opting instead for communications via technological means, such as through mobile phones, email, and the internet. By analysing the qualitative interviews of indoor-based providers, clients, and agency managers, this paper addresses the occupational health and safety concerns that indoor sex workers experience in the digital age, as well as how technology use can both support and hinder their capacity to promote their health and safety. Using thematic analysis, we arrived at three salient and nuanced themes that pertain to the intersection of sex work, technology use, and occupational health and safety: screening; confidentiality, privacy, and disclosure; and malice. As socio-political context can affect the occupational health and safety concerns that providers experience, as well as their capacity to prevent or mitigate these concerns, we highlight our findings in light of prevailing societal stigma and a lack of legal recognition and protections for sex work in Canada.

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CC BY 4.0