MALE STREET PROSTITUTION IN DUBLIN AND SAN FRANCISCO: A PSYCHOCULTURAL ANALYSIS
This study was designed to assess the role of culture in male street prostitution (MSP) by comparing 11 MSPs in San Francisco with 12 MSPs in Dublin, Ireland. The methodology included locating the participants through a nonrandom direct approach and the snowball sampling technique. In addition to a semistructured interview, each participant completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation, Coopersmith Self-Esteem Instrument, the Drug Assessment, and the CAGE for indications of alcohol dependency. The Dublin group scored higher in depression and lower in self-esteem, but there were no significant differences in suicidal ideation or alcohol or other drug dependencies. There were several obvious cultural differences; these related to religious influences, age of first usage of heroin, admission of sexual orientation, families of origin, and contact with social services. Most of the Dublin participants were on methadone maintenance programs and drew weekly assistance from welfare agencies, whereas none of the San Francisco participants were on methadone and only one received welfare. Contrary to expectations, none of the participants were gay adolescents who had been forced from their homes and engaged in prostitution in order to survive. The prime reason for entering and remaining in prostitution was heroin dependence. The results favored the proposition that childhood sexual abuse, early school leaving, and addiction to heroin were predisposing factors that lead these participants into MSP. Recommendations are offered for new services and, ideally, for service providers who come from the ranks of the MSPs.