Based on extensive interviews with forty women working as prostitutes, Red Light, Blue Light examines a variety of personal developmental experiences and socio-situational factors that can combine to make prostitution neither an inevitable nor inescapable circumstance but a rational occupational choice. This book attempts to analyze why women enter the world of prostitution, how the skills and values of the business are transmitted and how the individuals themselves subjectively define, perceive and rationalise their activity. As opposed to the traditional stereotypical depiction of prostitutes as hopeless, downtrodden victims of male exploitation living lives of poverty, misery and wretchedness, the picture that emerges in this study is of an independent occupational group organizing and controlling the business in which they work. The book also presents a profile of clients of prostitutes and discusses the role of the police. Written in accessible style, the resulting monograph presents a fascinating, unique and comprehensive account of street prostitution in a northern city.