Event Gives Look into World of Human TraffickingPosted: Updated:
Salka Valerio is a survivor of sex trafficking in New York City. She said she grew up in an abusive household and when her friend offered her a chance to move in with his family, she took the opportunity. However, when she got to the city she realized she had been sold into sex trafficking.
"I started crying. I asked for them to take me home and the Pimp pretty much said no I paid for you and you're gonna stay till you make that money back," Valerio said. "If you have a vulnerability anyone could pretty much come and tell you they are gonna help you out and the next thing you know you're in a nightmare."
Salka spoke at the Saint Joseph Mother House in Watertown Saturday to educate people on the vulnerabilities and red flags of youth trafficking. She said that she encourages parents and teachers to start talking to kids about the subject in middle school.
"If I Was taught these things at a young age then I probably would have never became a victim," Valerio said.
Some red flags of trafficking include a child making unexplained money, having an older boyfriend, or having multiple phones and hotel keys.
Speakers at the event said that it's important to remember youth trafficking can happen anywhere, even in the North Country.
Victoria Recor also spoke, as a parent of a survivor. She said her daughter was trafficked in Watertown. Recor added her daughter was groomed by a friend, raped in a hotel and then let go.
I'm just very grateful she is still here and wasn't sold off," Recor said.
Programs to educate people on Trafficking are being offered by both the Alliance for Better Communities who put on the event and the Victims Assistance Center.
If you see something suspicious you can National Hotline for human trafficking at 888-373-7888. You can also call 911.