A University of Victoria researcher gathering information on the sex trade is hoping to get data from people in Saskatchewan.

Chris Atchison, a research associate in the department of sociology at the university, is on a team examining how people are buying and selling sex services.

Atchison said the study was prompted because of changes to Canada's laws pertaining to the sex industry, including laws regarding advertising for sexual services and how people communicate for that purpose.

"Our objective is to provide a space for people who don't have a voice to be able to share their thoughts and experiences and their concerns," he said.

While the study is Canada-wide, Atchison said. "We're really trying to get at the spaces where we traditionally don't hear from people, such as Saskatchewan and the rest of the Prairies."

Atchison noted that a lot of research is done on the topic in major cities like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. But sex work operates differently outside urban areas.

"The sex industry functions in very different ways because of the remoteness of some places in Saskatchewan," he said. "It's not uncommon for people who sell sexual service to fly in to certain places and book appointments in advance."

Information secure

He said the online survey includes safeguards to ensure responses are not in any way revealing of a person's identity.

"Making sure the privacy, security and confidentiality of participants is held in the utmost regard," he said. "Our goal is not to identify particular individuals and put individuals in harm's way. Our goal is to make sure their stories and their experiences can be shared."

Atchison said the research is important because it provides evidence-based information that can inform policy decisions.

People can participate in the anonymous survey online at street-to-screen.ca.​

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition