The aftermath of sex trafficking: Dealing with the pain and shame – National sex trafficking |

As a survivor of teen sex trafficking, Barbara Amaya was ready to be done with the life of captivity and mandated sex acts with multiple strangers every night. It is typical for many former victims to feel drawn back into the abuse and sex trades, but this young lady was able to turn away completely and make a new start.

However, the effects of the years of humiliation were not over. Only 21, but having lived a thousand nightmares called life, getting detoxed and clean from the drugs took years. Barbara had left school in 6th grade and had no skills. She had undiagnosed PTSD and panic attacks, and when drug-free had to deal with all the terrors of the past that permeated her mind and emotions. Reconnecting with the family was stressful, for their best course was to put her in a program for the mentally handicapped. At the time, there was little understanding of the effects of sex trafficking.

After time, Barbara did get her GED and a degree in Early Childhood Development. She returned to Virginia where she married, but due to her unhealed wounding, she had a knack for picking alcoholics. Desperately wanting a baby, but unable to conceive because of sexual trauma-induced infertility, she had surgery and was able to bear a daughter.

As a mom, Barbara became intensely protective of her child. She left her husband when the baby was two, and had to work. She was afraid to leave the girl at day care and “started acting crazy”, and realized she needed counseling. She later lost her federal government job when she was fingerprinted, and her record came back with adult prostitution arrests while she had been in New York. Even though she was as young as 12 at the time, she had lied about her age and no one questioned her.

Shame-filled, alone and unable to trust her story to others, Barbara started a daycare in her home. She had a season of not being involved in a relationship, which she credits as the tool that God used for her healing process. Prior to this, she was still looking for love and romance and spent time going clubbing, making poor choices in her involvements with men.

Health issues such as back pain, from being thrown down stairs and out of a car, and abuse-related uterine cancer, resulting in a complete hysterectomy, reminded this young woman of the damage in her body as well as her soul. Times of solitude helped Barbara learn to love herself, but there were lots of “dark, ugly days” of being really depressed as she worked through her past.

Barbara’s daughter ran away from home at 15, and this was the catalyst for the heartsick mom to tell her child about her own childhood. This was a turning point as Barbara’s eyes were opened to see that the abuse was not her fault. She was a deeply wounded child who hadn’t known what she was getting into, and was literally brainwashed from 12 to 19 to be in the life. It was “us against the squares, and this conditioning plays into a young person’s mindset, especially when a girl is searching for love. It is hard to come to mindset that I am one of the normal people”.

Next: A sex trafficking survivor walks in victory, helping other victims

Read the rest of Barbara’s story:

Barbara can be contacted through her website:

via The aftermath of sex trafficking: Dealing with the pain and shame – National sex trafficking |

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