Mandy Ogunmokun was first sold into sex when she was four. Like too many abused children, her youth was dominated by the pain of drugs and prison.
But after 20 years in and out of Holloway and the visceral battle of a heroin addiction, Mandy now helps vulnerable women access accommodation and get the help they need with the Treasures Foundation, which she founded in 2011.
She tells the story of her dramatic turnaround to Hollywood actor Jason Flemyng on More Than My Past’s podcast, aiming to smash the stigma that many people face when trying to find employment after spells in prison or battling addiction.
The podcast is the work of The Forward Trust, who called on legendary Arsenal footballer Tony Adams and ex-Big Issue vendor-turned-London’s happiest bus driver Patrick Lawson to launch their More Than My Past campaign online last year.
At first I didn’t believe it was for real, but then as soon as I saw those houses, I knew it was my destiny
The campaign has turned into a podcast in 2020 with Adams telling his story after Lord Bird featured on the first episode of the show, explaining how he transformed a life of homelessness and prison into founding The Big Issue and working in the House of Lords.
In the latest episode, out today, Mandy explains that “we all have hidden treasures but we need to be in a safe environment to allow them to come out”.