January is a month that reminds Americans about the global issues related human trafficking and slavery. President Obama ensured that prevention measures and awareness would continue to take place by marking the month of January as the National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. To read Obama’s address to the nation about this decision, visit the following website http://tinyurl.com/zasf4su.
The UN sponsors the Blue Heart Campaign, which works to end these issues globally. For more information visit their website, http://www.unodc.org/blueheart/index.html.
I have chosen to highlight two books which address these issues for teens.
Sold by Patricia McCormick
This is the harrowing, yet inspirational story of Lakshmi, a Nepalese child who is sold into a brothel. While this book does address the very real issues facing those sold into sexual slavery, the novel does this in a way that is appropriate for its intended readers. I was struck by the way the novel presents a stark contrast of Lakshimi’s hope to her day-to-day struggles. It is impossible to imagine how Lakshmi survives, but hope always finds a way. This book is a solid novel that addresses these issues and typically one of the first that is brought to mind when searching for novels about human trafficking.
My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt
Angel was seduced when she was young by drugs and the attention of an older man. Ultimately, she is taken from her family and forced into prostitution. After her pimp decides that she has become too old, he wants her to turn out a younger girl. On top of that one of her friends, who is also caught up in the life disappears. Angel starts to worry for her own safety and begins to seek for a way out.
This book is told in verse. The voice of the narrator is almost at the level of a five year old…though she is a teen. Perhaps this is the author’s way of showing the emotional impact on Angel because she was taken so young. However, I think it makes it harder to connect to the character. I feel that the author could have explored this concept further and better without verse. I believe that this is an important issue and the novel works to highlight how someone could unknowingly get caught up in this dangerous world. While this wasn’t one of my favorite books, nor did it fully explore the impact of human trafficking on a person, I do believe that it brings to light some of this issues related to human trafficking.