Childhood sexual abuse made Barbara vulnerable to sex trafficking ploys – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com

Barbara Amaya has been living with a painful, devastating secret for over 40 years. She was a victim of child sex trafficking decades before there was even a term for such a thing. Only in the last few weeks, at age 55, has she been able to start telling her story. For the first time, she has a voice for her brokenness, and people are listening.

“I feel like I was raised by animals, but they would have treated me better.”

Barbara Amaya

View slideshow: Barbara Amaya today.

Family sexual abuse was not uncommon in the ’60s and ’70s, but it was not really an open matter. When Barbara tried to tell her mother of her ordeals, she was met with denial that anything had happened. Without validation or help or protection from the abusers, the cycle of rapes and molestations continued. At 12, Barbara ran away to nearby Washington, D.C. She was caught, put in detention or reform school and would eventually run again. No one ever acknowledged the abuse or asked her what was going on inside. When she was returned to her home and put in school, she knew her world was so different that she would never be able to fit back in.

Using every kind of drug she could access, the young teen was struggling to numb herself from the horrors of her world. Once, while alone in D.C., a woman befriended her and took the girl home with her. Desperately looking for love and acceptance, Barbara was a perfect target for the next stage. She was forced to prostitute herself on the street corners.

At 13, the woman sold her to a male pimp from New York. He was the “stereotypical pimp with the platform shoes and fancy car”, and he played the role of “boyfriend”. Soon, he, too, forced Barbara to sell herself. She stayed with him for about six years and complied, even though she knew she was risking her life every night on the streets of New York. Raped, beaten, shot and stabbed on numerous occasions, she ran away several times, but her captor would always find her and beat her mercilessly into submission.

When picked up by the police for prostitution, Barbara always lied that her age was 19 or 21, as instructed by the pimp, and the officers never questioned that information. They never offered her any help or alternatives. When she got out of jail, she returned to the pimp as her only option.

Barbara’s drug of choice was heroin, and she was so badly addicted that even the pimp realized she was no longer useful to him. She kept aside some of her trick money so she could buy more drugs and then got beaten up for her lies and deceit. She started staying away from the house until he finally cut her loose and left her on the street.

For two years, she lived as the walking dead, homeless, addicted and desolate. A counselor from a methadone program was able to reunite this young woman with her family, and in 1979, Barbara took a train to Philadelphia to see them. She has never looked back on that life nor been back to New York.

Barbara’s website: barbaraamaya.com

Read the rest of Barbara’s story:

via Childhood sexual abuse made Barbara vulnerable to sex trafficking ploys – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.

Backpage boasts 400 child sex ads reported monthly: More trafficked minors found – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com

In a May 2012 investigation by ABC Nightline, the lawyer for Village Voice Media’s subsidiary, Backpage.com, insisted that the publication giant is helping stop the sex trafficking of minors. This week, Backpage asked that the demand from the state attorneys general to shut down the adult sex ads be dropped. Attorney Liz McDougall told Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden that 80 percent of their Phoenix based employees are tasked with scouring the adult services ads to find postings about children. Approximately 400 notices are passed on to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children each month, double the number reported six months ago.

Nevertheless, there are still children being trafficked through the online ads of Backpage.com. Sheryl*, an employee at a national treatment center* for girls rescued from sex trafficking, regularly monitors the adult section of Backpage. She has recently identified two of the former residents of the facility. The pictures were turned over to the police and the teen girls were found and apprehended. In addition, a third girl, age 15, and the pimp were brought into custody.

View slideshow: Backpage.com: Blatantly violating its own standards on sex ads?

Often, the girls themselves are commanded by the pimp to take and post their own pictures. Even though the posting rules specify that account holders must be 18 or over, and a credit card is needed to pay the ad fees, there is no way to verify the age or identity of the poster.

Posting rules on Backpage.com

You agree to the following when posting in this category:

  • I will not post obscene or lewd and lascivious graphics or photographs which depict genitalia, actual or simulated sexual acts or naked images;
  • I will not post any solicitation directly or in “coded” fashion for any illegal service, including exchanging sexual favors for money or other valuable consideration;
  • I will not post any material on the Site that exploits minors in any way;
  • I will not post any material on the Site that in any way constitutes or assists in human trafficking;
  • I am at least 18 years of age or older and not considered to be a minor in my state of residence.

Any post exploiting a minor in any way will be subject to criminal prosecution and will be reported to the Cybertipline for law enforcement.

Postings violating these rules and our Terms of Use are subject to removal without refund.

The Adult Entertainment section is filled with ads that blatantly violate the company’s own rules. The second bullet point refers to prostitution, which is illegal in all states except Nevada, and there it is legal only in certain counties. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the services being solicited are sex for money, especially with the pictures on the sidebar. Human trafficking may be most identifiable if minors are involved, but “consenting adults” may also be entrapped in the bondage of sex slavery in a variety of ways.

Backpage.com is making $2-3 million every month from the sex ads, but Liz McDougall claims they are helping to stop the sex trafficking by cooperating with the police. However, the attorneys general from 48 states and three territories have declared that they are contributing to the problem by allowing the adult section to continue. There is a major nationwide movement to have Backpage shut down their adult services section, just as Craig’s List did 18 months ago.

What do you think? Does the ease of advertising sexual services contribute to sex trafficking, especially of minors?

*Name of center and employee withheld for the protection of the residents

via Backpage boasts 400 child sex ads reported monthly: More trafficked minors found – National sex trafficking | Examiner.com.