Raised in a family where there was active drug and alcohol addiction, Tammy McDonnell was molested as a child. Drug addiction led her out into the streets, where she was lured into a job ostensibly to answer phones in a body shop but was instead sold out to men for sex. Further exploitation and homelessness followed, but eventually Ms. McDonnell found help at an all-women’s rehab program. Today, Ms. McDonnell helps others escape “the life” as a Survivor Advocate at Covenant House, while also serving as a fierce legislative advocate, public speaker, and mentor to those exiting prostitution.
“People look at people in prostitution as worthless human beings, whereas I see a possible future of success, beauty, and inspiration. I see me! It’s critical not to make judgments when you don’t know what kind of extraordinary struggles someone has undergone and what they are going through. Showing compassion and kindness is essential.”