Fiction

Bell, Julia – Dirty Work, Young Picador (London,) c. 2008 teens
Hope has everything that money can buy…except happiness. She may be spoilt but Hope’s sure that as far as her preoccupied parents are concerned, she’s hopeless. Oksana doesn’t even have a mum. And her dad and brother are miles away, left behind in Russia. She thought Europe would offer a better life but instead, bought and sold into prositution, she feels dirty and used. Then Oksana and Hope are thrown together in the most terrifying circumstances imaginable. Their only real chance of escape lies with each other, but how do two teenagers with so little in common find the way…? This is a tense, shocking novel with a hint of hope. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

Lowe, Tom – A False Dawn, Minotaur Books, 1st edition 2009
Lowe’s debut offers little suspense or surprise, though well-crafted prose suggests he’s capable of better. Ex-Miami homicide cop Sean O’Brien, who’s retreated to a house on Florida’s St. Johns River, carries the usual baggage for a reluctant hero. His wife died from cancer six months earlier, and his policeman father was shot dead in the line of duty when he was a child. O’Brien calls in the Volusia County police after discovering a severely beaten, dying young woman on the river bank. O’Brien soon finds himself attracted to one investigating officer, Detective Leslie Moore, and at odds with another, Detective Mitchell Slater, who he believes may be covering up for the killer. Predictably, the unidentified woman’s slaying may be connected with an unsolved serial murder case O’Brien worked on in Miami. Suspects include some powerful locals possibly involved in sex trafficking. O’Brien could sustain a series if he’s attached to less by-the-numbers story lines in the futures. (comments taken from Amazon website: Publishers Weekly, April, c. Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)

McCormick, Patricia – Sold, c. 2008 teens
Grade 9 up – As this heartbreaking story opens, 13-year-old Lakshmi lives an ordinary life in Nepal, going to school and thinking of the boy she is to marry. Then her gambling-addicted stepfather sells her into prostitution in India. Refusing to be with men, she is beaten and starved until she gives in. Written in free verse, the girls first-person narration is horrifying and difficult to read. In between, men come./They crush my bones with their weight./They split me open. Then they disappear. I hurt./I am torn and bleeding where the men have been. The spare, unadorned text matches the barrenness of Lakshmi’s new life. She is told that if she works off her family’s debt, she can leave, but she soon discovers that this is virtually impossible. When a boy who runs errands for the girls and their clients begins to teach her to read, she feels a bit more alive, remembering what it feels like to be the number one girl in class again. When an American comes to the brothel to rescue girls, Lakshmi finally gets a sense of hope. An author’s note confirms what readers fear: thousands of girls, like Lakshmi in this story, are sold into prostitution each year. Part of McCormick’s research for this novel involved interviewing women in Nepal and India, and her depth of detail makes the characters believable and their misery palpable. This important book was written in their honor. (from School Library Journal—Alexa Sandmann, Kent State University, OH)

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Non-Fiction

Ali, Ayaan Hirsi– Infidel, Free Press, c. 2008
Readers with an eye on European politics will recognize Ali as the Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament who faced death threats after collaborating on a film about domestic violence against Muslim women with controversial director Theo van Gogh (who was himself assassinated.) Even before then, her attacks on Islamic culture as “brutal, bigoted, and fixated on controlling women” had generated much controversy. In this suspenseful account of her life and her internal struggle with her Muslim faith, she discusses how these views were shaped by her experiences amid the political chaos of Somalia and other African nations, where she was subjected to genital mutilation and later forced into an unwanted marriage. While in transit to her husband in Canada, she decided to seek asylum in the Netherlands, where she marveled at the polite policemen and government bureaucrats. Ali is up –front about having lied about her background in order to obtain her citizenship, which led to further controversy in early 2006, when an immigration official sought to deport her and triggered the collapse of the Dutch coalition government. Apart from feelings of guilt over van Gogh’s death, her voice is forceful and unbowed—like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion. (Publishers Weekly Feb., c. Reed Business Information)

Bales, Kevin – Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy (revised edition with a new preface,) University of California Press, c. 2004
Slavery is illegal throughout the world, yet more than twenty-seven million people are still trapped in one of history’s oldest social institutions. Kevin Bales’s disturbing story of contemporary slavery reaches from Pakistan’s brick kilns and Thailand’s brothels to various multinational corporations. His investigations reveal how the tragic emergence of a “new slavery” is inextricably linked to the global economy. This completely revised edition includes a new preface. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

Bales, Kevin – Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, University of California Press, c. 2008
In his 1999 book, Disposable People, Kevin Bales brought to light the shocking fact of modern slavery and described how, nearly two hundred years after the slave trade was abolished (legal slavery would have to wait another fifty years,) global slavery stubbornly persists. In Ending Slavery, bales again grapples with the struggle to end this ancient evil and presents the ideas and insights that can finally lead to slavery’s extinction. Recalling his own involvement in the antislavery movement, he recounts a personal journey in search of the solution and explains how governments and citizens can build a world without slavery. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, University of California Press, c. 2009
Although most people imagine widespread enslavement only in the historical past, human trafficking continues to exist today in myriad forms around the world. In this informative call to action, Bales (Disposable People,) sociologist and president of Free the Slaves, and Soodalter (Hanging Captain Gordon,) a historian, document routine coercive slave labor in domestic service, Prostitution, farm labor, factories, light industry, prisons and mining operations. While many sensational cases have been well publicized, the authors demonstrate that slavery exists in mundane and unexpected forms. Their case studies begin in an American suburb and traverse the globe to urban China and rural Ghana, returning to Los Angeles, CA and East Orange NJ, just a few of 100-plus documented cases in the U.S. The second half of the book focuses on causes and solutions, with a helpful emphasis on how ordinary individuals can recognize and report coercive situations, creating a humane and helpful primer on how to sever the links that create and hide human bondage. (Publishers Weekly, July 2009)

Bales, Kevin and Rebecca Cornell–Slavery Today, 2008 teens
Authoritative and passionate, this small book by leaders of the antislavery movement is a horrifying account of contemporary slavery across the globe. Part of the Groundwork Guides series, it discusses numbers (about 27 million slaves today), causes (including war, corruption, and poverty), and conditions (today, slaves are cheap and that makes them disposable, thrown out when weak or sick), all within an overview that shows that human trafficking now is often in children, whether as soldiers, prostitutes, or forced labor. The disturbing subject matter is not easy reading, and some of the text is dense. But sidebars throughout the book tell individual stories, including an interview with one child. For readers who want to get involved, he is clear that the boycott of goods produced by slaves is not the answer; in fact, boycott could increase poverty, which is the root cause of the problem. Instead, the authors give realistic suggestions about how to move past outrage and into sustainable efforts towards change. Extensive back matter includes Web sites and lists of organizations. (comments taken from Amazon.com website: Grades 10-12. –Hazel Rochman, Booklist –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Batstone, David–Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It (Paperback, Harper, San Francisco – Feb 6, 2007)
Human trafficking generates $31 billion annually and enslaves 27 million people around the globe, half of them children under the age of eighteen. Award-winning journalist Bavid Batstone, whom Bono calls “a heroic character,” profiles the new generation of abolitionists who are leading the struggle to end this appalling epidemic. Advisory on the cover: This book deals with mature subject matter. (Title submitted by Rhoda Keener, Pennsylvania)

Beah, Ishmael – A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1st edition 2008
This gripping story by a children’s rights advocate recounts his experiences as a boy growing up in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, during one of the most brutal and violent civil wars in recent history. Beah, a boy equally thrilled by causing mischief as by memorizing passages from Shakespeare and dance moves from hip-hop videos, was a typical precocious 12-yr-old. But rebel forces destroyed his childhood innocence when they hit his village, driving him to leave his home and travel the arid deserts and jungles of Africa. After several months of struggle, he was recruited by the national army, made a full soldier and learned to shoot an AK-47, and hated everyone who came up against the rebels. The first two-thirds of his memoir are frightening: how easy it is for a normal boy to transform into someone as addicted to killing as he is to the cocaine that the army makes readily available. But an abrupt change occurred a few years later when agents from the United Nations pulled him out of the army and placed him in a rehabilitation center. Anger and hate slowly faded away, and readers see the first glimmers of Beah’s work as an advocate. Told in a conversational, accessible style, this powerful record of war ends as a beacon to all teens experiencing violence around them by showing them that there are other ways to survive than by adding to the chaos. (comments taken from Amazon.com: Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA, School Library Journal, c. Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.)

Flores, Theresa – The Sacred Bath: an American Teen’s Story of Modern Day Slavery, iUniverse, Inc., 2007
Author Theresa Flores shares her story of trafficking and slavery while living in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit Michigan. At fifteen years of age, she was drugged, raped and tortured for two long years. She was kept in bondage and forced to pay back an impossible debt all the while living at home attempting to keep her family safe and attending school during the day alongside her abusers. She was called into “service” late each night while her unknowing family slept. Involuntarily involved in a large underground criminal ring, Ms. Flores endured more as a child than most adults will ever face in their entire lives. In The Sacred Bath, Ms. Flores discusses how she healed the wounds of sexual servitude and offers advice to parents and professionals on preventing this from occurring. She also educates and gives the facts on human trafficking in modern-day America. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

Jesse, Sage, ed., and others – Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery, Palgrave Macmillan, c. 2008
Nineteenth-century slave narratives compelled changes in social mores and international law whenreaders were confronted with the stories of the human beings behind the economy of slavery. The editors of this collection hope for similar reactions as they present modern-day slave narratives from people held against their will as sex slaves, house servants, laborers, and migrant workers. Seven former slaves recall harrowing experiences of abduction into involuntary servitude. When her parents are killed in Haiti, Micheline Slattery is passed along among cruel family members before being shipped into domestic servitude in a Connecticut suburb. Abuk Bak, a Sudanese girl, is caught in a slave raid, raped, and held against her will for 10 years, long before th ethnic war in Darfur gained international attention. Harry Wu recalls his arrest when he was a university student, and the 19 years he spent in China’s forced-labor camps. Abdel Nassar, a Mauritanian slave master, recalls his personal journey from slaveholder to abolitionist. A heartbreaking, eye-opening account. (Vanessa Bush in Booklist, c. ALA)

Kara, Siddharth – Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, Columbia University Press, c. 2008
Kara, a former investment banker and executive, uses theoretical economics and business analysis to propose measures that could eradicate sex trafficking by undermining the profitability of the illegal activities associated with the crime. At considerable personal risk and expense—he is nearly attacked by a gang of pimps in Mumbai—the author penetrates seedy underworlds and forced labor markets to meet the women and children in the dungeon of human disgrace in Asia, Europe and the U.S. He highlights ubiquitous and disturbing trends—the heavy involvement of law enforcement agencies and personnel in trafficking and slavery—but this book’s intentions suffers from Kara’s self-professed rudimentary economic analysis, which often borders on the offensive (a theoretical calculation of the lifetime value of a sex slave) and an unscientific, ad hoc research model. While the evidence indicates the urgent need for action—a woman or child is trafficked for sexual exploitation every 60 seconds—Kara’s economic approach fails to shed new light on the human cost of sex slavery and seems at the best of times beside the point, although the detailed statistical information he compiles—on everything from the costs of running a brothel in Queens, NY, to massage parlor and bonded labor economics worldwide—is a resource for researchers in the field. (Publishers Weekly Jan.)

Mam, Somaly – The Road of Lost Innocence: As a girl she was sold into sexual slavery, but now she rescues others. The true story of a Cambodian heroine, Speigel & Grau, c. 2008
Sold into slavery as a young girl—first as an indentured servant to a surly, violent older man, then, at 16, to a brothel—Mam could have lived a life of misery and defeat. Instead, she found freedom and security while keeping her remarkable spirit intact. This unflinching, searing memoir tells Mam’s story, from her early childhood as an orphan in the mountains of Cambodia to her current role as cofounder and president of the AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Circumstances) and the Somaly Mam foundations, which have rescued more than 3,400 women and children throughout Southeast Asia. Mam’s voice is humble, matter-of-fact, and wrenchingly real. Her passionate refusal to let other girls suffer as she did spurs her to action. She began by gathering money to help distribute birth control as a precaution against AIDS, then moved on to rescue young women and girls, taking them into a shelter and teaching them employable skills—all against extraordinary odds. The story of Mam, nearly a twenty-first-century Mother Teresa, both inspires and calls to action. (Emily Cook, Booklist.)

Muhsen, Zana – Sold: One Woman’s True Account of Modern Slavery, Little, Brown Book Group, c. 1994
Zana Muhsen, born and bred in Birmingham, is of Yemeni origin. When her father told her she was to spend a holiday with relatives in North Yemen, she jumped at the chance. Aged 15 and 13 respectively, Zana and her sister discovered that they had been literally sold into marriage, and that on their arrival they were virtually prisoners. They had to adapt to a completely alien way of life, with no running water, dung-plastered walls, frequent beatings, and the ordeal of childbirth on bare floors with only old women in attendance. After 8 years of misery and humiliation, Zana succeeded in escaping, but her sister is still there, and it seems likely that she will not ever leave the country where she has spent more than half her life. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

Nazer, Mende – Slave: My True Story, PublicAffairs, c. 2005
Born into the Karko tribe in the Nuba mountains of northern Sudan, Nazer has written a straightforward, harrowing memoir that’s a sobering reminder that slavery still needs to be stamped out. The first, substantial section of the book concentrates on Nazer’s idyllic childhood, made all the more poignant for the misery readers know is to come. Nazer is presented as intelligent and headstrong, and her people as peaceful, generous and kind. In 1994, around age 12 (the Nuba do not keep birth records,) Nazer was snatched by Arab raiders, raped and shipped to the nation’s capital, Khartoum, where she was installed as a maid for a wealthy suburban family. (For readers expecting her fate to include a grimy factory or barren field, the domesticity of her prison comes as a shock.) To Nazer, the modern landscape of Khartoum could not possibly have been more alien; after all, she had never seen even a spoon, a mirror or a sink, much less a telephone or television set. Nazer’s urbane tormentors—mostly that of “keeping up appearances.: The contrast between Nazer’s pleasant but “primitive” early life and the horrors she experienced in Khartoum could hardly be more stark; it’s an object lesson in the sometimes dehumanizing power of progress and creature comforts. After seven years, Nazer was sent to work in the U.K., where she contacted other Sundanese and eventually escaped to freedom. Her book is a profound meditation on the human ability to survive virtually any circumstance. (Publishers Weekly, c. 2003, Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Skinner, E. Benjamin – A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery, Free Press, c. 2008
Today there are more slaves than at any time in history, according to journalist Skinner’s report on current and former slaves and slave dealers. Skinner’s travelogue-cum-indictment focuses most sharply on Haiti, Sudan, Romania and India, and is interspersed with a detailed account of the work of John Miller, director of the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, or America’s antislavery czar. Skinner reiterates that sexual trafficking is only one component of slavery, but devotes the bulk of this book (when it is not following Miller’s State Department career) to this issue. The text teeters toward the travelogue, taking the reader to Dubai’s most notorious brothel and Skinner’s adventures in posing as a client to talk to women… (or) as an arms dealer to talk to traffickers. Nevertheless, Skinner’s story merits reading, and not just because the cause is noble and the detail often fascinating, such as the moral complications of Christian Solidarity International’s redemption or purchase of 85,000 slaves’ freedom. Skinner’s account of the internal workings of the State Department and the deep links to faith-based antislavery groups and their special interests is seriously newsworthy and, at times, moving. (Publishers Weekly March)

Waugh, Louisa – Selling Olga: Stories of Human Trafficking, Phoenix, c. 2008
It seems inconceivable in the 21st century, but human trafficking is now the world’s fastest-growing illegal industry: according to U.S. government estimates, between 700,000 and two million people have become victims. Following three years of in-depth research, award-winning author and journalist Louisa Waugh has produced a vivid, unflinching account of how this immoral commerce operates and why it thrives. Throughout Eastern Europe, a combination of war and poverty has led to women being sold in bars, confined, and coerced into sex work. And while Waugh focuses especially on one woman, Olga, who tells her own story in angry, heartbreaking detail, she also introduces us to many others across Europe including Nigerian women in Italy and migrants trapped in other forms of forced labor. She helps us understand why, in spite of global awareness, relentless anti-trafficking campaigns, and increasing numbers of imprisonments, this type of crime hasn’t disappeared…and why in spite of everything, there is hope for change. (comments taken from Amazon Product Descriptions)

(Titles submitted by Suzanne Stauffer, Ohio, stauffsu@agristar.net)