'I wound up beaten:' LI woman shares sex trafficking survival story

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BETHPAGE -

A Long Island woman is sharing her story of survival over sex trafficking.

Emily Waters says at 18 years old, she was going to college and working as an underage bartender in a hotel. That's where she met her boyfriend, who she says quickly became her worst nightmare.

Waters says her boyfriend initially dealt her drugs before becoming her trafficker. She was trafficked in Texas.

Experts say Long Island is among the top 20 locations in the U.S. for sex trafficking. They say human sex trafficking goes hand in hand with the opioid epidemic.

"The first time I tried to leave, I wound up beaten," Waters says.

She tried to escape two times, and was brutally beaten when she was found.

MORE: LI businesses get training to help stop human trafficking

Waters says she managed to escape in 2001, when a friend bought her a plane ticket out of state. She left her boyfriend, her car, and everything she had except for the clothes on her back.

Waters is now the director of human trafficking at the Safe Center, where she works with victims every day to help them become survivors.

She is also the director of Nassau County's Human Trafficking Intervention Court, which has been in operation for seven years.

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