Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


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Dalla, R. L. (2006). “You can’t hustle all your life”: An exploratory investigation of the exit process among street-level prostituted women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 276-290.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2006.00296.x


Copyright © 2006 Division 35, American Psychological Association. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Between 1998 and 1999, 43 street-level prostituted women were interviewed regarding their developmental experiences, including prostitution entry, maintenance, and exit attempts. Three years later, 18 of the original 43 participants were located and interviewed. This exploratory follow-up investigation focused on the women’s life experiences between the two points of contact, with emphasis on sex-industry exit attempts. Five women had maintained their exit efforts and had not returned to prostitution, nine had returned to both prostitution and drug use, and one had returned to prostitution only. Three additional women had violated parole and been reincarcerated. Themes evident among those who were able to stay out of prostitution and refrain from substance use are compared to those whose exit attempts had not been successful. Suggestions for intervention and outreach are presented, as are directions for future work.