in Crime & Punishment, Sonya (Sofia Marmeladova) works as a prostitute out of desperate need to support her family. Her father is an alcoholic and spends so much of the family's money on alcohol, even selling some of their possessions to do so. (There's more i could say about this, but i won't right now unless someone wants me to.) Her stepmom has tuberculosis and is coughing up blood, hardly in a condition to work (although she tends to do housework all day for no pay.) Her little stepsiblings are too little to work. I don't know what child labor laws Russia had in the 1860s, but i seem to recall that child labor laws in, say, the US and UK were in reaction to children working long, hard hours in not-so-safe conditions in factories, which in turn was, i believe, a result of the industrial revolution. i don't know when exactly the industrial revolution is believed to have begun, but from what i know of Russian history, i doubt it had reached Russia by the 1860s.