February 9, 2006 – Posted at 9:39 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR -- In Jonesboro , it's a vicious cycle of drug addiction and a trade of sex for money.
Monica Sartin came to Jonesboro last year, escaping what she calls an abusive relationship with her ex-husband. Addicted to crack cocaine and meth, Monica has fought demons since she first tried drugs at age 11. She turned her first trick at 12.
"It was hard when I made that first decision," said Sartin, "It was hard to actually look at what you've done and realize what you've caused your family, and what you've done to them. And once you've related to that, it hurts you...and I don't think you'll get over the hurt for a long time."
It's a pain that has to be put aside to survive, but it was her addiction to drugs that led her down the path to prostitution.
"It's easy money, its easy money. You can't do anything else easier then that. Because you get paid between anywhere for $20-$25 dollars, maybe $30, that's if you give them more. If you give them more, then they give you more," said Sartin, "So it's like a give, give situation."
She says the most she has ever charged was $45 for oral and regular sex, but she would do anything for the right price. Sartin said, "I went and danced for old men. They enjoyed it because they had young little flesh. And they got to see what they wanted to see, and touch what they want to touch. Especially out here in Jonesboro , that's all they care about. They are just looking for the next piece of butt."
Sartin had a pimp when she worked in California who set up jobs for her. In Jonesboro she is on her own, and the dangers of the streets are real.
"They pay you good, as long as you give them what you want, what they ask for. But if you don't you're going to have one problem on your hands," said Sartin, "They'll either dump you somewhere or beat you up for it."
Sartin says she has been raped and beaten while working, but feels the police are no help to the situation.
"The police don't care here. The police do not care about what is going on down here. All they look at you is basically a whore or a crack head. That's all they know of you of."
She calls her Jons "Corporate Jonesboro," for what she says is mostly white collar cliental.
"It's more oral, and it's more of the older men who are looking for it...more of the older perverted men. Most of them are older; I've not run across a young one yet. but they are at least in their 40's to maybe 50's and they are still looking for it," said Sartin, "There isn't nothing glamorous about it. It just...it really hurts you. It degrades you that bad. As a woman, it degrades you to do that."
At the time of our interview with Sartin she had been clean from drugs for about 30 days. She expressed hopes of getting into a rehab program and eventually regaining custody of her 2-year-old daughter.