KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville sex trafficking survivor is sharing her story in hopes of helping others avoid becoming a victim.
Angie Duncan is a happily married mother of three. She is also the founder of the non-profit Hosea’s Heart but her life hasn’t always been so picture perfect.
“Growing up here in East Tennessee the sexual molestation started at a very young age,” said Duncan.
Duncan said the molestation started before she was three-years-old.
“I was molested by neighbors. I was molested by if I would stay at a friend’s house their fathers. I was molested by male relatives,” said Duncan.
The sexual abuse continued through her teen years. Then one night in Knoxville an older women convinced her to join the sex industry.
“They were telling me about traveling and the money and what sounded like a glamorous lifestyle,” said Duncan.
The woman took her to Memphis along with another girl who thought they were going to be modeling.
“The job description they gave me did not match the work that they actually do,” said Duncan.
She said she started stripping, giving private shows and escorting. Then she started using drugs and didn’t know how to end the cycle.
“I was miserable. I was self-destructive. I was a cutter. I contemplated suicide several times,” said Duncan.
With no friends or family and a fear of being arrested Duncan said she didn’t know how to reach out for help.
Returning to Knoxville, Duncan said she continued escorting, but also was drawn to church.
Eight years ago she said she gave her life over to Christ and with the support of friends strong in faith changed her life.
Now Duncan has started a non-profit, Hosea’s Heart, focused on ending sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of women and children.
In 2013 an in-depth study by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found more than one hundred cases in Knox County.
In Knoxville Duncan and her team at Hosea’s Heart checks streets in Knoxville and calls being advertised online to let htem know there are resources available.
Hosea’s Heart also offers a bi-weekly support group bible study for victims at the Church at Knoxville on Rocky Hill Road.
“There is hope and the main reason we go out in the community is to let them know somebody does care,” said Duncan.
Duncan says from her experience most women who end up in the sex industry were sexually abused as children. She says abused children grow up not knowing they have the power or right to say no and they find themselves turning to prostitution to survive.
For information on Hosea’s Heart:
- Visit hoseasheartknox.org
- Or call (865) 245-0295