Process and outcome evaluation of “Exit Doors Here:” Helping female sex workers leave sex work


Work and Health

An innovative, capacity-building solution to help female sex workers make change in their lives.

By helping women increase their knowledge of supports in the community, the Exit Doors Here program is designed to create a pathway out of sex work. Individually-tailored and time limited, it addresses women’s social determinants of health (e.g. housing, employment, social support) in a holistic way, rather than tackling just one in isolation.

The program is delivered through Elizabeth Fry Toronto, and based on an evidence-based, case-management model called Critical-Time Intervention. This model has been proven to work well in helping people transition from precarious housing situations to stable ones.

If Exit Doors Here proves to be an effective solution for helping women exit sex work, it could be scaled up and implemented more widely to benefit more people.

We’re conducting a five-year, mixed-methods, process and outcome evaluation to find out:

  1. Did the program affect participants’ readiness to make changes to their lives?
  2. Did it increase their social support network?
  3. Did it help them to meet their housing, employment and financial goals?
  4. Did it increase their awareness of community services?
  5. What proportion of participants exited sex work once they completed the program?

We will survey and interview participants before and after completing the program. We will also interview program staff and volunteers and analyze case workers’ notes about participants’ progress. A contribution analysis will help us to infer causality and make conclusions about the contributions the Exit Doors Here program made (or didn’t make) to the observed results.

Our results will inform improvements to the Exit Doors Here program, and will help make a strong case for scale-up if appropriate. This study will also add to the literature on critical-time intervention, to show how well it works when applied within the context of sex work.

Work and Health

Dr. Patricia O’Campo

One of the first scientists to shine a light on the social determinants of health, Dr. Pat O’Campo is internationally renowned for her scholarship and methods development. She is the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Population Health Intervention Research.


  • Dr. Martine Shareck (Universite de Sherbrooke) Principal Investigator


  • Pearl Buhariwala, Research Coordinator
  • Maha Hassan, Research Coordinator
  • Exit Doors Here program staff


  • Public Safety Canada


  • Elizabeth Fry Toronto

Contact Info

Pearl Buhariwala

Research Coordinator