After working as a prostitute for almost two years, Contessa says her turning point came when a man put a gun to her head. "That's when I knew I had to stop," she says. "I just saw myself getting shot. I knew my prayers didn't work any more."
Contessa says it's been two years since she stopped prostituting herself. Now, Contessa is working with PRIDE, a non-profit organization in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that helps women get out and stay out of prostitution. She has a job and a place to live, but she can't let go of her past. "I don't feel clean yet," she says. "I feel like a dirty person all the time. ... They have just used me up so much. They turned me into nothing."