Table of contents

Foreword by Amy Lebovitch

1 | City/Whore Synecdoche and the Case of Vancouver’s Missing Women
2 | Anti-Prostitution Reporting, Policing, and Activism in Canada’s Global Cities
3 | Technologies of Resistance: Sex Worker Activism Online
4 | Agency and Aboriginality in Street-Involved or Survival Sex Work in Canada

Works Cited


Canadian cities are striving for high safety ratings by eliminating crime, which includes “cleaning” urban areas of the street sex industry. Ironically, sex workers also want to live and work in a safe environment. Ferris questions these sanitizing political agendas, reviews exclusionary legislative and police initiatives, and examines media representations of sex workers. Shawna Ferris gives a voice to sex workers who are often pushed to the background, even by those who fight for them. In the name of urban safety and orderliness, street sex workers face stigma, racism, and ignorance. Their human rights are ignored, and some even lose their lives.


  • Winner, Manitoba Book Awards / Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book 2016
  • Winner, Scholarly and Academic Book Award, Alberta Book Publishing Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta 2016
  • Winner, Outstanding Scholarship Prize, Women's and Gender Studies et Recherches Feminists Association (WGSRF) 2017


Ferris presents compelling evidence of how the representations of and responses to sex-work in Canadian cities reflect a necropolitical global-capitalist agenda that contradicts the liberal democratic ideals that the Canadian nation-state purports to uphold. Likewise, she offers a nuanced and complex analysis of how the experiences of Canadian urban street sex-workers and the representations of them by others must be understood from the intersections of class, gender, and race.

- Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

"'Why did the murder of 14 white, educated women at École Polytechnique in 1989 inspire parliamentary outrage and a legislative response from the Department of Justice, while the 'disappearance' of 65 poor, mainly Aboriginal women in Vancouver was treated as a police matter?. . Canada tolerates no capital punishment but has been oddly indifferent to the death penalty meted out to 'missing' women, Ferris writes. .. Street Sex Work shocks. It is also insightful and dark and worthwhile for any reader who is not afraid to dive in the deep end. " [Full review at https://www. blacklocks. ca/review-shocking]

- Holly Doan