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Barbara Amaya

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Barbara Amaya
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
social activist
Anti-slavery activism
TitleTechnical Adviser Human Trafficking Programs and Policy

Barbara Amaya (born 1956) is a U.S. citizen, author, sex trafficking abolitionist, advocate and survivor. She is known for her work advocating for the abolition of sex slavery and for her sought after speaking engagements and writing. Amaya publishes a column in The Washington Times Communities section called "Telling It Like It Is".

Early life[edit]

Barbara Amaya was born in 1956 in Alexandria, Virginia where she was raised by her parents.[1] During her childhood, Amaya's mother drank heavily, while her father was abusive.[2] Amaya ran away from home at the age of 12 and left school in the 6th grade.[3] To support herself, she initially relied on shoplifting and handouts. By the time she was almost 13, she had been groomed for prostitution by predators and was trafficked on the streets of Washington D.C.[4] Amaya's traffickers sold her to a New York trafficker who took her to New York City. When she was 13, Amaya was trafficked from the age of 13 for 9 long years on the streets of New York City. Amaya escaped her trafficker when she was 21 and while heavily addicted to heroin.


Amaya did her best to put her life together and the past behind her, keeping silent for decades about her past years. Amaya returned to school and began studying in preparation to take her General Educational Development. She went on to obtain a credential in early childhood development and taught kindergarten children for several years. She married, underwent fertility surgery, and had a daughter. Amaya survived uterine cancer after having 3 surgeries.[5]


While watching a newscast during 2012 about trafficked teens in her Arlington V.A. neighborhood, Amaya had an epiphany and realized for the first time that she was really a victim of sex trafficking, then she dedicated her life to helping others. Amaya speaks and shares 'her story' and ways people can make a difference. Amaya shares how sometimes victims don't even know they are victims so it is crucial for law enforcement to receive training.

Amaya works to address public policy and legislative limitations which limit the effectiveness of government and community programs and the ability of individuals and organizations to reach victims of sex trafficking in cities and states across the US. Amaya works to address and change policy and misconceptions that view children as criminals, speaking out against these laws and sentences in the United States. She played a key role in lobbying Florida legislators to pass the 2014 Safe Harbor Statute and assisted in drafting vacating convictions bill in the V.A. General Assembly. In fact, Amaya gave expert testimony in support of Safe Harbor legislation in the M. D. General Assembly. These bills recognize children as victims, rather than criminals, and provide them with necessary social services.

In August 2013 Amaya traveled to New York to vacate multiple criminal convictions she had on her record from the time she was arrested even though she was a victim and minor child. Amaya serves actually as an inspiration and mentor to others who aim to vacate and clear their criminal convictions. Amaya works towards ensuring that each and every state in the U.S. has legislation that will allow survivors of human trafficking to vacate any convictions they may have gotten while they were being trafficked.

Amaya's story has been featured in Fox News, NPR, World Magazine, The Washington Times, Animal Magazine, Examiner, Channel 4, and many other various publications and media outlets.[6] She serves actually on several advisory boards including ArtWorks for Freedom, and is a speaker on the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation Speaker Panel while she is a member of the Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force and the Dept of Justice Human Trafficking Task Force. Amaya works for non profit SeraphimGLOBAL in the capacity of Technical Adviser Human Trafficking Programs and Policy. She is called upon for expert testimony and assistance in identifying victims of human trafficking by local law enforcement groups. Amaya has spoken nationwide in multiple venues, universities and churches to bring her message of awareness, overcoming adversity and hope to at risk populations and the public.


Barbara Amaya has published a graphic novel, The Destiny of Zoe Carpenter, up at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobi, IBook ICloud online.[7] Amaya's memoir with publisher Animal Media launches 2014. Amaya's graphic novel, The Destiny of Zoe Carpenter, and accompanying curriculum serve as educational resources for at risk populations, teachers, Counselors medical personnel and all readers who aim to start a conversation and learn more about human trafficking.

External links[edit]



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