Woman Shares her Troubled Journey Through Prostitution - 8 News NOW

Woman Shares her Troubled Journey Through Prostitution

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Barbara Dexter has been busted more than 100 times for prostitution and drugs, bus said she has turned her life around. Barbara Dexter has been busted more than 100 times for prostitution and drugs, bus said she has turned her life around.

LAS VEGAS -- A Las Vegas woman busted more than 100 times for prostitution and drugs has turned her life around.

The woman was in and out of jail so many times, she spent the equivalent of 13 years behind bars. She always kept going back to a life of crime, but now has she cleaned up and committed herself to staying sober.

Barbara Dexter's life as a prostitute started at a grocery store one day. She was 25 years old.

"There was an Oriental guy who passed by, picked me up and asked me if I wanted to make a few dollars?"

Dexter, who was already addicted to drugs, said that was her first experience as a prostitute. She resorted to prostitution for the next 25 years to pay for her habit which included crack cocaine.

"I lived smoking the pipe. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't nice, it wasn't fun. It was a very difficult journey."

Dexter's journey would include more than 100 arrests and citations. Her mug shots show what life on the streets was doing to her face. She calls them her lost years.

Every time she got out of jail, she vowed to go a different route, but didn't. She would inevitably go back to turning tricks on Las Vegas Boulevard and pick up the pipe again.

One day she landed in Judge Cynthia Leung's municipal courtroom. Leung saw Barbara as a life worth saving, so she offered her a deal. She challenged her to stay clean and sober for 18 months to avoid jail time.

8 News NOW visited Barbara at her halfway house on her final day. All of her possessions were stacked beside the door, near the breathalyzer machine, not far from the note reminding her roommates to wash the dishes.

"So, life is pretty good for me now," she said.

A few hours later, family members would sit in court waiting for the judge. But this time, instead of sentencing Barbara, Judge Leung offered congratulations, and welcomed Barbara Dexter back to the world of the living.

Finally, after 25 lost years, she was ready to find her family again.

"They are so proud of me, they've been waiting for this day, just as long as I have."

Dexter is the latest graduate of WIN Court, or Women in Need Court. It's a specialized sentencing program run through Las Vegas Municipal Court.

Dexter already has a part time job and hopes her story inspires other women in prostitution to turn their lives around.

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