|Barbara Amaya author, advocate, speaker||
"Strength through adversity"
CONTACT ME TODAY FOR EXPERT HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRAINING THAT
INCLUDES THE SURVIVOR VOICE
It has taken me over 40 years to break my silence; I finally feel strong enough to be able to share my story, to reach out to others and hopefully help them in some way by sharing my experiences. I believe that first should be awareness and education and only then can any policy or legislation begin to change.
I was abused and afterwards there was no help, I felt like nothing I did mattered, I didn’t want to go to school or talk to my friends, I felt like I was never good enough or pretty or as smart as the other girls my age. And because I received no validation or therapy for the abuse I suffered, my self-esteem plummeted into nothingness and I became a walking target for traffickers and predators. I believe it is so important to first validate a child’s abuse, and second get them the therapy and help they need. Listen to them.
The summer I turned twelve years old I ran away from my suburban Virginia home. I ran away from home to escape the abuse, and I continued to run away from home dozens and dozens of times between the ages of twelve and thirteen. Sometimes the police would find me and bring me home, or they would take me to detention centers, reform schools and hospitals. I was treated as a juvenile delinquent, and a child who was uncontrollable, never as a young girl who needed assistance or help.
One time after I ran away, a couple found me hungry, cold and in need of shelter on the streets of Washington, D.C. They picked me up and groomed me for prostitution. I was barely thirteen years old. So great was my need for love and attention I would have most likely robbed a bank if they had asked.
After weeks of being trafficked by them in Washington D.C., they sold me to another trafficker who drove me to New York. I was sold like a piece of furniture on the streets of our nation's capitol.
I was exploited by the person who bought me in D.C. over ten horrific trauma filled years, forced to sell my body on the streets of New York City. I tried to leave several times, once even making my way all the way back to my home in Virginia, but I never really succeeded. He always came after me and brought me back to New York.
I grew up while being trafficked.
While I was on the streets of New York City I was beaten, raped, robbed, jailed and even taken to Rikers Island Prison. I was arrested dozens of times.
Today I advocate for the rights of human trafficking victims and all victims of abuse and exploitation everywhere. Through my own adversity I've found strength and my own purpose, I've taken my life back.
If you or someone you know is being trafficked and need help please contact POLARIS
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