(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“I was a survivor. A survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of my loved ones. A survivor of human trafficking under the belt of one of the most evil men I had ever met. A survivor of an aftermath so long and horrible that it threatened to swallow me whole.”
Barbara Amaya completely missed a big chunk of her life, that is, her teenage years. That meant she missed everything associated with the period in one’s life that included school, vacations, birthdays, holidays and friends. Worse, she had nothing to replace it with except depressing thoughts and nightmares.
She ran away at age twelve, fell into prostitution at thirteen, and later became a heroin addict. What draws a girl into this?
Barbara explains exactly how she fell into “the life” in her heart wrenching memoir, Nobody’s Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery & Transformation. She painfully describes what she endured each day, and how she desperately wanted to please others and to feel part of a family. She even relates her time spent on Rikers Island, a New York prison.
When she finally got out of “the life” and got off of drugs for good, she continued to encounter problems. How could she find a job when she didn’t even complete the sixth grade, and had a police record that she couldn’t hide? As can be expected, her past influenced her choices in men. She never learned how to set boundaries.
What was a real eye-opener for me was that no matter how noble her intentions were, she couldn’t protect her own daughter from almost making similar mistakes; that is, until she sat her down and related most of her story to her.
So why did Barbara finally decide to reveal her entire story to all of us, even as painful as it is to relive? She wrestled with this, but wanted to take her life back and help others. She never wants to be a “voiceless victim” again.
What makes Nobody’s Girl even more exceptional is that Barbara provides resources and suggestions for parents, educators, concerned citizens and society as a whole on how to prevent and fight human trafficking.
Everyone should read this book in order to understand how this can still happen in our world—and even our own backyards—and what we can do to stop it.
Thank you Barbara, for sharing your story and making a difference!
(Note: for further information, please go to www.barbaraamaya.com)