"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Angie Duncan is the founder and Executive Director of Hosea's Heart, a
non-profit organization that works with victims and survivors of human trafficking throughout Knoxville. Angie is a survivor of human trafficking and sex slavery. After being shown the love and support of Christ, she has turned her life around and now she uses her experiences to help others who are suffering in an environment of human trafficking.
Angie has graciously shared her story with Compassion Coalition, and an extended radio interview in which Angie shares her story can be found by clicking here.
"No little girl dreams of growing up to become a prostitute. Researchers have noted that many women who turn to prostitution as a means of survival do so because it is familiar to them. Like these women, I didn’t wake up one day and decide being a prostitute or a stripper was a great idea and it was never a dream I aspired to as a child. Looking back, however, I can see how my entire life there was an assault on my sexual purity and identity that led me to believe lies that held me in invisible chains for years.
I grew up in East Tennessee, and, like 95% of women who end up in the sex industry, I was sexually abused throughout my childhood and adolescence. From being molested as a child by male relatives, a female babysitter, and a friend’s father to being sexually assaulted by a family friend as a teen and date raped multiple times in high school, I believed the only thing giving my life any value was sex. I was also exposed to pornography at a young age and was shown that prostitution could be a means of survival. This led me to believe that women not only belonged in the roles I observed but also that it was what women were created for.
At the age of twenty I was approached by a group of older women while out at a night club in Knoxville. They showered me with compliments about my good looks and dancing and told me that I could make a lot of money travelling with them as a feature entertainer and model. They made the lifestyle sound so glamorous, and I was at a place in my life where I was looking for a way of escape. I left the club with them that night and the next day I was taken to Memphis to work in a strip club. I quickly found out the job description I was given about my work in entertainment did not fit the work I would actually be doing.
I spent the next five years working in adult entertainment and saw the under belly of this exploitive industry. I started out stripping which quickly led to escorting. I became an alcoholic and drug user, was a cutter, and had many psychological issues like most women in this industry such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, dissociation and more. I witnessed tragedies daily. Many of my friends had pimps, and I came to understand how sex trafficking happens right under our noses and we don’t recognize it. This was all before the terminology was popularized and common knowledge. A decade ago, when I was working, no one was coming for you and no one cared that you were there. I felt like I was society’s trash.
By the grace of God my story doesn’t end there. I didn’t grow up in church but as a young adult I did experience God in a very tangible way after watching a televangelist. I bought a Bible and the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and began to teach me the Word. God became my only hope and eventually my true way of escape. He was with me on this journey and He never left my side. Eventually, He sent a man into my life that would show me His love in tangible ways so I could understand God as a lover, a provider, a protector and more. On New Year’s Day, 2016, my husband and I celebrated eight years of marriage!
I always knew I had to go back. I saw too much. I experienced too much about human and sex trafficking. I had to share the courage to overcome that lifestyle that I had found in Jesus Christ that there is a way of escape in Him! I have been called for such a time as this, and my entire life was preparation for this work. As the Father pursued me, I am also now in pursuit. At Hosea’s Heart, we reach out to women in the sex industry with a message of hope and a way of escape. We know that God does not condemn them and has not forgotten them, but rather is full of grace and mercy and love for them. The Bible says that Christ came not to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Our key scripture comes from Hosea 2:15 which says, “In the valley of trouble I will give her a door of hope.” It was in my valley of trouble that God made a way of escape for me and gave me hope, and now we are His hands and feet to do the same for others."