Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3

Photo Courtesy of the It Happens Here Facebook Page.

Ashley Yuan participates in the It Happens Here campaign which is in partnership with Street
Ransom, a ministry located in Roanoke, Virginia that provides a safe house for all victims of sex
trafficking in the New River Valley.

Sex Trafficking: an epidemic no one is safe from


Nicole Verdin | nicoleev@vt.edu | 703-508-0454

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia had an


astounding 54 cases of sex trafficking
reported since the beginning of 2017 to anybody, said Amaya in an interview
according to Virginia First, a south-west with a WFXR reporter in August 2016.
Virginia television station. South-west Virginia residents are no
Sixty year-old Barbara Amaya, a south-west exception to this modern day slave trade. A
Virginia native, was trafficked from state to story of a blonde woman roaming the 1-81
state for 10 from the time she was 12 to 22. corridor following college-aged females to
Since being rescued in 1979 she has been their apartments and claiming she was raped
traveling around the commonwealth to share in order to coax them into comfort so she
her story, raise awareness and speak about can sell them into sex trafficking has taken
overcoming adversity. the social media scene by storm according to
Kristen Hornbaker, a local native.
I was thrown out of cars, cut with razors According to James Madison Universitys
and even shot, said Amaya. It can happen chapter of Kappa Alpha Thetas Facebook
page, there have been several claims Virginia Tech Students have also taken a
referring to the blonde woman from the stand against human slavery. In September
week March 12 2017 made by several 2016, Jordan White ran for homecoming
students at James Madison University, king with the slogan It Happens Here, to
Virginia Tech and Radford University raise awareness for those who were sold into
following their return from spring break. trafficking.
Several stories of various encounters have
Nationally, 35 percent more cases of human
been published on Facebook groups and
slavery, were reported last year in the U.S.,
local forums.
according to the Polaris Project, a non profit
The Radford Police Department took to their organization that works to combat modern
Facebook page on March 14, to assure their slavery. Virginias numbers have been
community they were aware of the matter following that trend as the commonwealth
and investigating all claims made, while also remains a hotspot for gangs trafficking
reminding them to look out for one another. victims into sex and work labor.
Above all else, they urged people to report
Keith Farmer is the director of Straight
any suspicious behavior.
Street, a youth center located in Roanoke
My first instinct, I was scared. We live in a Virginia. In 2015, Straight Street opened
scary world but during the day I do feel safe Street Ransom a shelter that serves as a
on campus said Erin Biger, a sophomore at resource to victims that were rescued from
Radford University said in regards to her the sex industry. The program addressed the
safety on campus according to The Tartan. sexual exploitation of youth in the Roanoke
Several of Bigers friends have made Valley.
postings on Facebook of being followed by
The Department of Homeland Security has
a suspicious man and women off the 1-81
started the Blue Campaign which partners
corridor. One even said that these two
with local governments and law
perpetrators showed up at her apartment.
enforcement agencies among various states.
At Radford University, there was an Virginia has recently joined forces in order
investigation of an incident that occurred to heighten awareness of common indicators
with the blonde- woman involving a that typically correlate with those who have
member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA) been sold into trafficking.
sorority on March 12.
The members of ASA have begun a
campaign in order to raise awareness of this
global epidemic and to remind girls of their
surroundings. Caroline Haase, recent alumni
of ASA at Radford, said she is proud of the
initiative her sisters are making and will
continue to support her sisters from her new
home in Richmond, Virginia where sex
trafficking cases have also been reported as
Photo Courtesy of the Department of Homeland
of 2016 according to the Dispatch Times. Security.
Members of the Department of Homeland
Security display a pocket guide for the Blue
Campaign which identifies common indicators of
According to The Department of Homeland
Security, Virginia Department of
Transportation has begun putting up hotline
numbers to report and incidents on major
highway signs where young women are
typically sold or smuggled. According to
Street Ransom, because of the strict laws on
sex trafficking in Maryland and the District
of Columbia, the traffickers are moving to
Virginia. Interstate 81 has become a highly Photo Courtesy of TedTalk.org
traveled route for these perpetrators and Barbara Amaya giving her TEDtalk titled
made Virginia the fifteenth most prevalent Human Trafficking A compilation
state for this crime.
Amaya is now an advocate, author and
Media coverage has played an important speaker. She has moved to Alexandria,
role in spreading victims stories. If it wasnt Virginia to help lobby for legislation and
for a local news report, Amaya claims she even began giving TEDtalks related to this
wouldnt have known that this crime is what issue.
had happened to her. Hopefully, the more
light that is shed on the issue the more lives We dont think we are all victims. Amaya
will be saved. says in one of her speeches. But every time
I help someone, I think that this happened
for a reason.