Read More, Learn More – January 2012 Book List

The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores. (Ampelon Publishing, 2010)

While more and more people each day become aware of the dangerous world of human trafficking, most people in the U.S. still believe this is something that happens to foreign women, men and children–not something that happens to their own.

In this powerful true story, Theresa Flores shares how her life as an All-American, blue-eyed, blond-haired 15-year-old teenager who could have been your neighbor was enslaved into the dangerous world of sex trafficking while living in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit. Her story peels the cover off of this horrific criminal activity and gives dedicated activists as well as casual bystanders a glimpse into the underbelly of trafficking. And it all happened while living at home without her parents ever knowing about it. Involuntarily involved in a large underground criminal ring, Ms. Flores endured more as a child than most adults will ever face their entire lives.

In this book, Ms. Flores discusses how she healed the wounds of sexual servitude and offers advice to parents and professionals on preventing this from occurring again, educating and presenting significant facts on human trafficking in modern day American.

About the Author: Ms. Flores has been a licensed social worker in Ohio for nearly 20 years. She received a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Ball State University in Indiana and a Master’s in Counseling Education from the University of Dayton as a Human Development Specialist. She is featured by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in a traveling exhibit entitled, Invisible Slavery. She lectures internationally on human trafficking and currently works for Gracehaven House, a therapeutic, long term home being built for young girls under the age of 18 who have been victimized by domestic sexual exploitation.

She has made it her mission to bring awareness to the subject of human trafficking so that other young girls never have to endure what she did in silence. She was a guest speaker at the Child Slavery Now conference in Hull, England at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and has been featured on MSNBC/The Today Show in an investigative series called Sex Slaves: The Teen Trade.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2008)

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

About the Author: Ishmael Beah came to the United States when he was seventeen and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations on several occasions. He lives in New York City.

Gangs and Girls: Understanding Juvenile Prostitution by Michel Dorais and Patrice Corriveau. (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009)

Gangs and Girls is the first major piece of qualitative research specifically aimed at understanding and analyzing the involvement of street gangs in female juvenile prostitution. Organized around a number of direct central questions, Michel Dorais and Patrice Corriveau document how street gangs control the lucrative trade in underage girls. They discuss how young men are drawn to gang life, how young girls become attracted and attached to the gang members who eventually sell them into prostitution, and why it is so hard to infiltrate and dismantle the distinct but interrelated worlds of the procurer, victim, and client. Rooted firmly in first person testimony, this research deepens our understanding of juvenile prostitution by identifying and exploring the types of motivations and circumstances that lead teenagers into prostitution rings. The ultimate focus is on prevention: the authors provide essential tools for parents and those trying to help adolescents in peril, support and intervention strategies for practitioners, and the tools and information necessary for policy makers to reflect on and design innovative social policy.

About the Author: Michel Dorais has spent many years working with victims of sexual abuse and juvenile prostitution as a clinical social worker and is now a professor of social work at Laval University in Quebec City.

Listening to Olivia: Violence, Poverty, and Prostitution by Jody Raphael. (Northeastern Press, 2004)

For nineteen years, Olivia lived the shadowy life of stripper, streetwalker, and heroin addict on the fringes of society. Leaving a troubled home at age sixteen to land a seemingly glamorous job at a Chicago stripclub, she became trapped in a web of prostitution and drug addiction that eventually forced her onto the streets and into a world of hardship at the hands of abusive men. But Olivia, a resourceful, vibrant woman of color, ultimately escaped the prostitution lifestyle and is now director of addiction services at a community counseling program, working to support drug-dependent women.

Listening to Olivia is the compelling account of her descent into poverty and abuse together with her hard fought recovery. By assimilating new research on the women and girls in prostitution–in addition to their male customers–Jody Raphael discovers that experiences like Olivia’s are alarmingly common and argues that the sex trade as an institution promotes violence against women. Smashing both the common stereotype of the depraved streetwalker and abstract feminist arguments legitimizing prostitution as the sexual liberation of women, the author uncovers an emerging multimillion-dollar global trafficking industry that detains women in a violent cycle of exploitation and dependence. Olivia’s own insights on her turbulent childhood, stripping in clubs, soliciting on the street, drug addiction, brutal pimps, her three pregnancies, and her extraordinary transformation highlight important new questions: who are the men who buy sex from such poor, strung out women; and why are so many of these men so violent?

Olivia’s story gives a human face to the overwhelmingly low-income, non-white, and unempowered young women in prostitution today. Combined with a wealth of new findings, this gripping and accessible study challenges the academy, the legal system, and society as a whole to wake up and listen to the women like Olivia.

About the Author: Jody Raphael is Senior Research Fellow at the DePaul University College of Law’s Schiller, DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center and author of Saving Bernice: Battered Women, Welfare, and Poverty, the first book in a trilogy on women, violence, and poverty to be published by Northeastern University Press. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois.

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