Slaves Among Us by Monique Villa

four dragons

The statistics, what ones Villa was able to find, were horrifying and overwhelming. How many people are in slavery in our time and how much money is being made off of their misery is more than I can handle. Some of the stats were a little repetitive in the beginning, but that’s understandable given how large the numbers are and how little concrete information we have at this point.

I can’t critique this book much because of the subject matter. Could some of the transitions been clearer or statistics better introduced? Yes, but the writing was clear overall and each new section made my heart ache for a new reason. It is emotionally harrowing to read these stories. If you try to read this book make sure you’re honest with yourself about what you can handle and what may haunt you too much to be healthy.

It is important and necessary that this book has been written and is available to readers. It follows three people in-depth but tells the stories of millions of others. It covers a subject that I connect with because I can remember how my perception changed in regards to sex workers vs sex slaves. I can recall my father coming home from trucking and complaining about “lot lizards” (a derogatory term for people-usually women- who go from 18 wheeler to 18 wheeler attempting to sell sex) waking him up and how he would respond to get them to leave, sometimes threatening them to ensure they left. As a child I thought “why would these women do this to themselves?” As a new adult I worked in a Domestic Violence Shelter where I began to learn how often people are sold into sex slavery right here in America. I forced my father to save the Truckers against Trafficking number in his phone and promise me to call if he saw any person going from truck to truck and report it. These are people’s lives that are being sold and ruined and most of us are never aware.

Slaves Among Us covers different countries and shows how each country ignores or remains unaware of the trafficking going on within its borders. I believe that small changes can help. It’s nice to imagine fixing this problem, or any huge problem, at the source, but all too often this feat is too much for even an entire country. While we are striving for a total overhaul we can still contribute to a better world. Small things like calling a Trafficking hotline, maintaining awareness of trafficking areas, spreading awareness of the situation, and helping trafficking survivors to share their story or recover with anonymity as they choose all help to slow and stop this awful empire.

I absolutely recommend this book. You may not be able to finish it. I personally was not able to finish it for emotional health reasons, but I read enough to know that I can endorse it.

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