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The lowest in the food chain of the sex industry are the hardened sex workers who cling to their job for one reason or another.
These are women, usually addicted to some form of illegal drugs, who stand around on street corners in run-down areas. Their Hollywood Dress Code (usually much nicer than what actual crackwhores wear) includes tiny skirts, six-inch plastic heels, rabbit /fake fur jackets, a gallon of makeup, and crop tops, even if it's freezing outside.
Among the various forms that prostitution can take, streetwalking is easily among the most dangerous -- streetwalkers are at serious risk of being assaulted (physically or sexually) or mugged by clients and pimps, if not even worse.
- "Christie" in American Psycho.
- Vinessa Shaw in Eyes Wide Shut was an absurdly attractive example of one.
- Rita of Idiocracy was one.
- The main character of Pretty Woman was one of these.
- The Da Nang prostitute in Full Metal Jacket.
- Many of them paraded through Old Town in Sin City looking like dominatrices and acting the part when messed with. The comic version depicted standard streetwalkers outside of the neighborhood as well.
- The Stephanie Plum novels- Lola was one.
- Features on Wire in The Blood a lot.
- The Bill has them and female officers have been known to dress like them as part of stake-outs, to keep watch.
- The Ice Truck Killer in Dexter went after a series of these.
- Meg from Xena: Warrior Princess started out as one.
- The Kids in The Hall features a streetwalker duo and their softhearted pimp as recurring characters.
- Occasionally are featured on Law and Order SVU, sometimes as a Disposable Sex Worker, sometimes as The Informant.
- Patty The Daytime Hooker on My Name Is Earl
- Inara Serra, the "Companion" on Firefly, is pitied and insulted in her personal life despite the fact that Companions in Firefly seem to be very high-status people and actually bring respectability to the ship.
- The pilot episode lampshades the trope:
Kaylee: How many fell in love with you and promised to "take you away from all this"?
Inara: Just one. I think I'm losing my touch.
- One Firefly episode, Heart Of Gold, is about an old colleague of Inara's asking for her help on behalf of her whorehouse (brothel of unregistered hookers) to protect an unborn "whore"'s baby from being kidnapped by its father. Despite the fact that they don't work the street, they are hardened in that they are determined to protect their establishment. The madam is shot and dies at the end of the episode and the pregnant one kills the father of her son.
- The first season of CSI has Nick falling for a hooker, who is indeed killed by her pimp. Her pimp claims she was going back to school to recruit for the job and leave him. She is, of course, incredibly beautiful and doesn't suffer from abuse or drug addiction, unlike most real-life prostitutes.
- A rather similar thing happens to Warrick in the eighth season.
- Also in CSI, Grissom had for a while a kind of is-she-or-isn't-she-interested attraction to Lady Heather, an intelligent but intense woman who ran an S&M club. She was not the delicate flower in need of nurturing, though, but more of a velvet glove and iron fist in one.
- "Slow Down" by Brand Nubian is a What the Hell, Hero? directed at the speaker's ex-girlfriend, who has been selling her body to pay for her crack habit.
- "Tomorrow We'll See" by Sting is based on a documentary on teenage transvestite streetwalkers in Brazil.
- The music video for "Prayer" by Disturbed has one of these that had recently been bought/used. The theme of the song is one of trial and tribulation, so her situation is made decidedly more tragic by images flashing on the screen showing her as a little girl, before she had to turn to her current life.
- Broken Saints has Butterscotch, a teenage girl who propositions the Shinto-Buddhist priest Kamimura. Due to his simple, sheltered nature he seems not to even understand what she means.
- The basis of Manwhores is the characters acting as these, with much of the early comedy revolving around their ineptness and awkwardness at it. Gems include Kevin awkwardly shouting "Sex for money, sex for money" repeatedly on a street corner. Randy actually turns out to be quite good at it, apparently due to to the power of his Porn Stache.