When Contessa's husband left her, she says she started abusing drugs and turned to prostitution to support her crack habit. "I felt what I was doing was wrong," she says. "But I couldn't stop."
The dark side of prostitution made life on the streets a never-ending nightmare. Contessa says she was raped twice, sliced across the face and stabbed with an ice pick while turning tricks. "After a while, the family stopped showing up at the hospital because I think they were getting tired of it," she says. "When they stopped showing up, I knew I had nothing, nobody."