Survivor of human trafficking shares how her story helps others get out
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Alia Azariah was sex trafficked at a very young age.
"When I was 13, I met a man on Myspace. It was really something that was really familiar to me. It was something like having an adult show me inappropriate affection wasn't new," she said.
Ten years later, she escaped on her own. Now, she works for Safe House Project, a national organization that provides aftercare for victims and partners with groups like the Albemarle County Police Department. She can provide support to victims by sharing her story.
"For survivors, oftentimes it's like, 'Am I going to leave my trafficker? Okay, if I leave my trafficker, then I'm homeless. I have no way to get food. I have no one to help me. I know that for me that if I hadn't had that 24-hour care where my full-time job was just healing, I wouldn't be where I am now," she says.
The other part of the fight against trafficking is to stop it before it starts. Albemarle County Police Detective Michael Schneider says that’s where parents come in.
"For our children, it's Snapchat. We get a lot of concerning reports of whether it be solicitation, revenge pornography, harassment," he said.
"Even more than that, we see youth being trafficked without ever leaving their home because of sextortion. They're receiving pictures of these youth and then they're using them to manipulate them to get more and more videos and pictures to sell to other people that want to consume them," said Azariah.
For information about the Safe House Project click here.