SOUTH HACKENSACK, New Jersey (PIX11) – On Tuesday PIX11 brought you two stories of pain, and survival from victims of sex trafficking.
One of them was Barbara Amaya — she endured years of abuse after being forced into what amounts to modern day slavery.
Barbara spent some nine years in the 1970s on the streets of New York City, from the age of twelve until she was nineteen. She was a working girl in what’s called ‘the life.’
After decades of keeping that part of her life a secret, Barbara is now telling her story, hoping to help other young at risk women from falling into the lifestyle that almost ruined her.
Sporting events are a magnet for sex and human trafficking with thousands of potential customers staying in hotels – and this year’s Super Bowl, which will be played in a few months at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey — is, according to law enforcement officials and victims’ advocates, the single largest human trafficking draw in the country.
Truck stop supervisors and hotel mangers are now the first line of defense for authorities.
At the Congress Inn in South Hackensack, New Jersey – one of several hotels within a ten mile radius of the stadium — hotel supervisor Donna Browko is ready for the business the Super Bowl may bring, and is also prepared to call the police if she sees signs of someone being trafficked.
“First of all when they come in, we check their ID. And we look, we can see if they’re of age or they’re under age,” Browko told PIX11. “We check the plate number, the cars – how many people.”
Raising awareness to sex trafficking has been on New Jersey Attorney General John Jay Hoffman’s radar for months with targeted training.
“For instance – EMTs, ambulance drivers, taxi drivers, hospitality industry providers,” said General Hoffman.
PIX11 spoke to Attorney General Hoffman today via Skype – from his office in Trenton, about what private sector workers are taught to look out for when it comes to identifying a sex trafficker – or a victim.
“Young women, or young boys, or young girls being with individuals who don’t’ allow them to speak, don’t allow them to talk, don’t’ allow them to act. Young boys or girls that show, sort of quiet, subdued look – depressed, and also show signs of physical coercion,” said General Hoffman.
Investigators are doing everything possible to keep Super Bowl 48 from just being another night of sex slavery for women like Barbara Amaya.