Research identifies the housing needs and preferences for women and girls in the sex industry


Montreal, May 20th, 2019 – Charity organisation La Sortie announces its completion to project Horizon, one of its objectives being the development of this intervention method based on conclusive evidence: effective housing for victims of sexual exploitation.

In 2017, La Sortie appointed Mourani-Criminologie, a Quebecois criminology firm namely offering research services, for this purpose, in order to undertake a study on the housing needs and preferences of women and girls in the sex industry. Based on an excerpt from 548 respondents, this research sheds light on the residential crisis – among other situations – of women and girls in this industry. It also highlights their preferences in terms of housing. An information session will take place on May 22nd at 10 a.m. at the InterContinental hotel on 360 Rue Saint-Antoine West, Montreal, QC H2Y 3X4 to present the results.

“We hope that with this research, female victims of sexual exploitation in Quebec will be heard and be able to have access to housing adapted to their needs. Moreover, La Sortie plans to use the results of this study to develop further methods of housing interventions,” states Ronald Lepage, director of La Sortie.

Housing First

“The Housing First approach appears to agree with women and girls who are or were in the sex industry. It consists of quickly offering them permanent housing, and as such, without preconditions or preliminary stages. In most cases, they are accommodated in an apartment with a rent supplement, as well as a mobile team that assists with housing retention. Another variant to this approach favours group housing. This too would respond to the demand of permanent housing in a building reserved for women and girls in prostitution,” confirms Maria Mourani, president of Mourani-Criminologie.

Some Findings from This Study:

  • The residential situation of those surveyed is rather precarious and unstable. In fact, the vast majority of respondents do not live in their own apartment, house or subsidised housing. More than half do not reside in their own apartment or house without subsidies, and more than one third reside in the same place for less than six months.
  • Consequently, many of the women and girls in the study want subsidised housing (low-income housing, Federation of NGO Housing of Montreal) or a rent subsidy. They want residential stability at a low cost.
  • Temporary housing was not a preferential choice. Ideally, these women would like permanent housing.
  • Most respondents rejected housing models involving a restriction on their autonomy, while those who were willing to cohabit with women were not in prostitution.
  • Regardless of the type of accommodation, these women request security access (intercom, camera, etc.) and a security guard in their building.

Real Needs, Insufficient Resources

Victims and survivors of prostitution must live with critical post-traumatic stresses. Their needs are many, and resources insufficient, particularly in the area of housing. Access to secure housing that caters to their needs remains a fundamental challenge.

“It isn’t easy when you don’t have a name… You pay cash and you don’t have a lease, so you could get kicked out,” testifies one resident of the La Sortie house, denoting her own housing difficulties in a capsule video made in conjunction with the publication of the research report.


Future Actions

During the National Week of Victims and Survivors of Criminal Acts from May 26th to June 1st, 2019, La Sortie will distribute this research, among other Quebecois resources, to help victims of sexual exploitation. In fact, an increasing number of organisations, such as La Sortie, are willing to establish housing services for women who want to leave the sex industry or are still active in that area. A better understanding of housing needs and preferences will help target services in a more effective way. Based on this approach, La Sortie plans to use the program AccèsLogis of the Housing Society of Quebec to construct a building responding to the needs expressed by these women.


About La Sortie

Founded in 2013, charity organisation La Sortie’s mission is to offer help and support to victims of sexual exploitation. La Sortie aims to foster a functional life outside of prostitution, all the while encouraging women to build a better future. Available services include reception, evaluation, orientation, housing, individual follow-up, thematic workshops and social integration activities. In September 2018, La Sortie opened its doors to a residence in the Vaudreuil-Soulange region devoted to female victims of sexual exploitation, and the only one at present in the province of Quebec. For more information, see press release.


– 30 –


Full study:

Source: La Sortie

Information: Ronald Lepage, general director

514 236-7255