Triggered by a childhood filled with sexual assault and abuse by strangers and family members, Jhonda Jones says being paid for sex allowed her to be compensated when her husband traded her to his friends for favors.
“It was a way to get back at men and take their money,” Jones said. “I would come home not even knowing how I got home. I’d wake up in different places, under the bridge, in cars, in different motels, not knowing how I got there.
"I did just about anything I could to make a hustle.”
By the time Jones enrolled in the Reaching Independence through Successful Empowerment (RISE) diversion program in Aug. 2011, she said the pain she carried inside made her physically ill.
RISE provides housing, education, job training and employment to career prostitutes. Women who are accepted into the program are offered the opportunity to address the underlying causes of their drug, mental health and economic issues with long-term therapy and supervision seldom made available in jails, prisons or community treatment programs.
-- Bill Miller