This paper describes the economic changes experienced by former Detroit sex workers as they progressed through a court-supervised treatment and recovery program. Semistructured interviews were conducted with women during three phases of the program: pretreatment (n = 31), treatment (n = 24), and transitional housing/independence (n = 31). Interviews were also conducted with women who had terminated from the program (n = 8). Sources and levels of income and expenses in each phase were recorded in detail. We found that women earned and spent substantially more money when they actively engaged in street sex work. Legal income remained low after the treatment phase, with only 39 percent of women in the final phase reporting regular work. We conclude that decreased drug expenditures are not enough to offset the decrease in income that accompanies termination of sex work. Policies supporting income, employment, and education for people in transition are recommended.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)