Sex Trafficking in Northern Virginia is very close to home

Sex Trafficking in Northern Virginia is very close to home

Chelsey Travino
Board of Directors, NoVA Human Trafficking Initiative

How is it possible there are sex trafficking victims in our community? After all, we are more than blessed, and it doesn’t seem to compute that sex trafficking could be happening in our area. This largely underground crime has infiltrated our cities, and for the most part we are blind to it. Not because we don’t care, but because we don’t have a trained eye and the tools to make a change. Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative ( is changing that. Through four main avenues of awareness, advocacy, prayer and victim services, we are starting to see the tide of sexual exploitation change. We are honored to work with victims who turn into survivors and walk along side of them into recovery and freedom!

This year at our second annual Human Trafficking Justice Summit, held October 21 – 22 in Annandale, Virginia. Speakers from all across the US and locally will be sharing their expertise and equipping us in this fight. Opening the summit on Friday night, is Barbara Amaya, who grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and was ultimately trafficked into DC and New York. You will hear a real account of her journey from a normal little girl, into the nefarious world of sex trafficking. As described in her auto-biography, Nobody’s Girl,


“Before the abuse I was a pretty little girl. I love to read, collect stamps and was a member of the Barbie Fan Club.” She later describes her experience while being trafficked, “I spent {many years} growing up in the streets of New York and Washington D.C. while I was under the control of a vicious human trafficker and his criminal associates. The thing is, human trafficking happens to vulnerable people, whether it’s a 35-year-old man desperate to feed his family whose needs are preyed upon, or a 12 year old run away like I was, who is seeking love and understanding and those needs are met in a twisted way by a human trafficker. What I mean is traffickers know how and who to target, and without education and awareness victims will continue to be exploited. I’ve had people ask me why I would choose to share my story now and my reply is I chose to never ever be silent again. Silence is a great part of the problem and I believe it needs to be broken.”

Barbara is not the only victim, she is one of many – and she’s right, we can’t be silent anymore! Join us and many more, on October 21 – 22 in Annandale. Learn more at


In the midst of great darkness, there is light. NoVA HTI is an example of the Church, the people of God carrying the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into our communities in practical ways. Jesus Christ and His Church are the hope of the world! While the world seems like it’s falling apart, the Church is coming together.

OneHeartDC ( is mobilizing churches across the Metro Washington area to respond to significant community needs like human trafficking. OneHeartDC promotes collaboration regionally for the common good and to seek Gospel saturation. Work is happening now in areas such as Youth Resiliency, School Partnerships, Housing, Racial Reconciliation, Serving Immigrants and Domestic Violence and other needs.