Human trafficking victim shares her story with local students

Jan 15, 2015

A victim of human trafficking shared her experience Thursday with students at Cheektowaga Central High School.

Mandy Palmer says four years ago when she was a senior in high school, she would escape reality through social media sites. Palmer says the attention she got online was addicting and she ended up running away from home.

Amanda Palmer spoke about her experience as a human trafficking victim Thursday in Cheektowaga.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

"When I first met Ryan, his personality was exactly the way it was when we had spoken online and we were texting. I felt really safe with him, like I could trust him. I got in his car willingly. There was no use of force or dramatic kidnapping like in the movies. I thought I was making a sound decision, so I went with it," said Palmer

Ryan turned out to be a gun-carrying pimp who forced Palmer into prostitution and threatened her family if she didn't go along.

"Human trafficking is a real and prevalent danger," added Palmer. "If it could happen to me, it could happen to you."

Law enforcement officials also spoke to the students about how to avoid becoming a victim as part of "Human Trafficking Awareness Month."