Book Review: Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

The girls decided October's book club genre would be "unsettling" - because it's Halloween month but we've already done thriller and horror. I don't do scary but unsettling was sufficiently vague that I figured I could find something. And as I often bend towards nonfiction, there is plenty of unsettling stuff in the world. Someone suggested I read a new Scientology book, which led me to search out general cult books. I couldn't find a book that dealt with various cults, and the only real life stories recently seemed to be based off one particular cult. I knew I wanted to learn about multiples, and I knew I wanted to learn about facts as well as personal stories.

Somehow, I got on human trafficking - unsettling no doubt - and came across a book that sounded like the perfect fit. It contained researched facts, as well as anecdotal personal stories, and it presented a global perspective by including many countries around the world. And in the end it was exactly what I was looking for.

October 2015: Unsettling

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery
By Siddhartha Kara
2009
298 pages

Siddharth Kara left the business word to journey into anti-slavery research and advocacy. One of the reasons I chose to read this book was because all the reviews and websites generally considered Kara a renowned expert. This is his first book of a trilogy on modern slavery (Bonded Labour: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia - 2012, the last yet to be published, as well as a report titled Tainted Carpets: Slavery and Child Labor in India's Hand-Made Carpet Sector - 2014). Kara not only provides the researched facts I was looking for, but also an analysis of the business side of human trafficking.

However, the strengths of this book are Kara's journey to the various countries and his descriptions of what he observes, and his retelling of numerous personal stories of predominantly the victims of sex trafficking, but also law enforcement and NGO workers. He travels to and writes about the situation in India, Nepal, Italy, Western Europe including Moldova, Albania and the Balkans, Thailand and the United States.

And it was unsettling. It's so hard to comprehend how in this modern world women and children are still being bought and sold into the sex trade. And millions of men around the world have so little respect and care for women and children that they make this happen by organizing and running the sex trafficking industry, but also by buying sex from victims. I can't even put it into words. Kara's writing was extremely visual, compelling and accessible. I read this book in 2 nights - I just couldn't put it down.

My only complaint about this book is it's not overly current, being published about seven years ago. However, I will read his second book and the third when it comes out. I highly recommend this book: it will open your eyes to a world long forgotten. It will inspire horror, compassion, and a desire to change. It's not an pleasant read but I left feeling like I learned, and feeling like I needed to learn more. It was a perfect unsettling book for October.

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