Heroin epidemic fueling human trafficking?

Posted at 10:52 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 23:28:49-04
It's a dark road with nowhere to turn. That's where 26-year-old Amber Motzer found herself give years ago, after her drug addiction took her to a place she never thought she would be.
"I felt like a piece of meat," she said. "I felt like nothing. I was out on the streets on my birthday. It didn't even matter."
Motzer says she owed some drug dealers money, and was being forced to pay for her families safety.
In order to fuel her habit, and pay off her debts to the dealers, Motzer found herself forced to sell her body for money.
"It made me lose a lot of faith in humanity," she said. "Human trafficking is slavery. I felt like property. I felt like a means to an end for someone else."
Julie Palmer of the PATH Program in Buffalo says as the heroin epidemic continues to grow, so does the issue of human trafficking here locally, which is something the program works to curb.
"This past year, we've served 150 women and children. That's probably a small percentage of those being impacted by this issue."
Palmer says the numbers and statistics are hard to quantify, because many women and children are scared to talk about their exploitation experiences.

To raise awareness about this issue, the PATH program hosts community meetings quarterly. You can learn more on their website.