UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Communications in sex work : a content analysis of online sex work advertisements among men, women and transgender people in Vancouver Kille, Julie Ann


The increased use of technology to purchase goods and services has changed the landscape of how we advertise, buy and sell commodities. This has contributed to an increase in off-street sex work advertised on the Internet. It is estimated that 80% of sex work in British Columbia occurs off street and the use of web advertising for services has grown exponentially (O’Doherty, 2011). While street-based sex work has been well studied, and there is a significant and growing body of knowledge concerning off-street sex work, communications in advertising sex work online is an emerging field of inquiry. There have been few studies that have examined these communications, and most have been population specific. In this study, 75 online advertisements for sex work in Vancouver, British Columbia were compared to determine what information was regularly communicated and how this information differed between men, women and transgender people using this medium to conduct business. Content analysis was employed as a method to extract the data from the websites in a systemized, categorical way and the results were analyzed to compare differences between groups, focusing on communications, health, safety, and business information. The findings suggest that while there are similarities between men, women and transgender people advertising sex work online, there are important differences that require further study to determine if they have impacted the health and safety of sex workers. This study summarizes what is being communicated in online advertisements of sex workers and contributes to understandings about how sex workers are communicating about health, safety and business to their clients. These insights can assist health care providers and policy makers in creating interventions to improve health and safety for sex workers and their clients.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada