Christine McDonald shares her story of recovery in America's Hometown
One hundred and three arrests, nine felony charges and seven trips to a state penitentiary.
Despite her lengthy wrap sheet, Christine McDonald now works as an advocate for trafficking victims, the homeless and recovering addicts.
"The reality is, in any given day we have hundreds of thousands of individuals being bought and sold right here in our own country and we're not immune to it because we're from a smaller community," said published author and advocate Christine McDonald.
It's this message Christine McDonald brought to America's Hometown Monday night.
Through a grant, Families and Communities Together was able to partner with The Crossing's 'Celebrate Recovery' program and bring Christine to Hannibal.
"We could have done it a lot of different ways but we felt like there would be a built in audience that would be valuable for them to hear what Christine had to say," said Tom Dugger, Executive Director of Families and Communities Together (F.A.C.T).
Christine's goal? To break the stigmas affiliated with drug addiction and prostitution.
She says only a very small percent of women are involved in prostitution voluntarily.
"You have other people that get caught in it because somebody is willing to pay for them, because they know they're in a vulnerable state. whether that's homeless, whether that's addicted or whether that's mentally ill," added McDonald.
And while Christine had been scheduled to speak months in advance - her timing couldn't have been more appropriate.
"When I think about 33 arrests in a town of this size in a sting that took just a few hours, my heart breaks at how many people are being bought and sold the other 364 days with the remaining hours," said McDonald.
After the presentation, several organizations were set up providing information about recovery services throughout the Tri-States.
Recently Christine was appointed to the Missouri Supreme Court Human Trafficking Task Force.
She will now sit alongside the very same judge who convicted her of a prostitution felony in 2000.