Raised in a close-knit military family, Athena Haddon was coerced into commercial sexual exploitation at the age of 17 by a boyfriend. She suffered years of violence and exploitation in the sex trade before becoming a fierce advocate and voice for women who have experienced sexual exploitation and trauma, substance abuse, and prostitution-related criminal charges. Out of “the life” for 23 years, Ms. Haddon was instrumental in founding the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and was a respected leader of Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Center. She has received numerous awards, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Consumer Peer Leader Voice and Worcester Women of Consequence Awards, for her work with individuals recovering from substance abuse and trauma histories.
“When I was in the life, I would have said it was my choice, my body, my life. But what I didn’t know then is that the healing from the aftermath of exploitation would take a lifetime.”