Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Dalla, R. L. (2002). Night moves: A qualitative investigation of street-level sex work. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26, 63-73.

DOI: 10.1111/1471-6402.00044


Copyright © 2002 Division 35, American Psychological Association. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


The subculture of street-level sex work including the social environment, drug use and abuse, and violence was examined. Personal interviews were conducted with 43 women involved in streetwalking prostitution. Data were analyzed using Phenomenological Descriptive Analysis (Colaizzi, 1978). Several participants reported developing emotional relationships and having children with clients, former clients, or pimps; some participants were married to men who pimped them. Supportive relationships with other streetwalkers were largely nonexistent; streetwalking constitutes a solitary business for most. The majority reported drug addiction, although less than half entered prostitution to support an already established drug habit. Financial need propelled many into the streets. Victimization and subjection to multiple forms of abuse were commonly reported but did not constitute justification for leaving the streets. Implications of this investigation are discussed.