As a madame in Atlanta, Pamela Hillman had a mansion and drove a Hummer.
“I always had a lot of money,” Pamela says on a CBN video. “It was a very big business.”
Pamela was a small town girl, whose mom was a free-spirited Playboy bunny and whose Dad was an abusive alcoholic.
Trouble started for her when she was 5 years old and begged her dad to be able to keep a stray puppy she brought home.
“If you come upstairs with me, you can have him,” her dad told her.
When she ascended the stairs, she was violated. “Something happened that day. It planted a seed that I could get what I want by going upstairs.”
The horrific happenings altered Pamela’s life forever. She went from a happy-go-lucky girl with dreams of growing up to becoming a PTSD-warped automaton whose emotions were guided by the sordid underbelly of American sin.
She DID tell mom what dad had done to her, and mom got him kicked out, but other members of the family picked up where dad left off. The curse had spread.
At age nine, Pamela found marijuana lying around the house and discovered she could be free from her room, from restrictions, from pain — all by smoking.
“When I discovered pot, I just went somewhere else,” she says. “I felt free from being trapped in that bedroom.”
Soon she was progressing through harder drugs and found cocaine.
But sex was her major coping mechanism in the quixotic quest for love. She was married and divorced three times before she turned 20. Prostitution, drugs and being in and out of jail became a way of life.
“I was a whore. I was a slut. I was never going to amount to anything.”
The never-ebbing undercurrent of her life was shame. “That was all that I knew. Filth.”
Fortunately for Pamela, not every influence in her life was bad. If her mom and dad contributed to her downfall, her grandmother was a voice of reason and Christian love.
A friend of her grandmother prophesied over Pamela when she was young. “This one here is special. She’s going to do great things for God.”
Many times those words of hope would come back to Pamela. They especially reverberated powerfully when Pamela, at age 26, decided to kill herself. With enough cocaine in the needle to end her life, Pamela heard those words again as she held the syringe, ready to jam it into her arm.
“God, if you’re real, help me, rescue me,” she cried out. “I need you.”
The voice spoke. “You don’t belong here. You’re going to do great things for God.”
“In that moment, I heard my grandmother’s voice,” Pamela remembers. “I heard so many of her prayers.”
Instead of committing suicide, she committed her life to Christ. She got off drugs, abstained from extra-marital sex and went to church for two years.
But Pamela had one slip-up, one moment of weakness in which she fell into sin again. She was overcome with grief, shame and hopelessness. She thought there was no recourse but to dive headlong into full-blown sin.
“I relapsed because I couldn’t deal with that shame and guilt,” she says. “I was unworthy to be in His presence, to be a child of God.”
It was a backsliding that lasted 25 years and brought her to new lows.
On the outskirts of Atlanta, Pamela became a sin entrepreneur, peddling drugs and pimping young ladies. She became a madame. She went by Madame Georgia or Queen Pam.
“I knew how to make more money in that industry,” she says. “That was the big industry.”
She tried to justify her actions. She “rescued” girls by buying them off from sleazy pimps. She let them work for her free from abuse. She gave them a great salary and managed their work schedules.
The money flowed from well-heeled clients.
“I didn’t want to be doing this,” she says with tears. “I didn’t want to be selling my soul to the devil. But I didn’t know how to get out.”
In 2010, God provided a way out. He arranged for her arrest.
“God became the Father I was looking for all along,” she says. “It was His ‘liquid love.’ I can’t describe any other way. There’s no man that can fill the void that Father God can fill.”
A key to her deliverance was to forgive the men who had violated her.
“God not only healed my heart, but He healed the heart of the offenders that I was praying for and brought them to Christ.”
She started a ministry of sharing scriptures with the inmates.
After serving 18 months of her five-year sentence, Pamela was released in 2011 and embarked on a new life. She launched a ministry of outreach into the prison and beyond called Life Changers Legacy Prison and Reentry Mentorship Program.
“I knew my purpose was to go out and help the disenfranchised, to help the less fortunate, to help those who are lost and forgotten in the prison wall,” she says.
Max Devantier studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.