Read More, Learn More – June 2011 Book List

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara. (Columbia University Press, 2010)

Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world’s most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such “processing,” and can be repeatedly “consumed.” Siddharth Kara traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll.  In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery and quantifies, for the first time, slavery’s size, growth, and profitability . Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all. The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.

Siddharth Kara is the first Fellow on Human Trafficking with the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He speaks and consults extensively on contemporary slavery and human rights worldwide and advises several governments as well as private and non-governmental organizations on antislavery policy and law.  Previously, Kara worked as an investment banker at Merrill, Lynch, and ran his own finance and M& A consulting firm. Kara holds a law degree from England, an M.B.A. from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Duke University. Previously, he worked as an investment banker at Merrill, Lynch and ran his own finance and M& A consulting firm.

A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner (Free Press, 2008)

To be a moral witness is perhaps the highest calling of journalism, and in this unforgettable, highly readable account of contemporary slavery, author Benjamin Skinner travels around the globe to personally tell stories that need to be told — and heard. After spending four years visiting a dozen countries where slavery flourishes, Skinner tells the story, in gripping narrative style, of individuals who live in slavery, those who have escaped from bondage, those who own or traffic in slaves, and the mixed political motives of those who seek to combat the crime.
Skinner infiltrates trafficking networks and slave sales on five continents, exposing a modern flesh trade never before portrayed in such proximity. From mega-harems in Dubai to illicit brothels in Bucharest, from slave quarries in India to child markets in Haiti, he explores the underside of a world we scarcely recognize as our own and lays bare a parallel universe where human beings are bought, sold, used, and discarded. He travels from the White House to war zones and immerses us in the political and flesh-and-blood battles on the front lines of the unheralded new abolitionist movement.
At the heart of the story are the slaves themselves. Their stories are heartbreaking but, in the midst of tragedy, readers discover a quiet dignity that leads some slaves to resist and aspire to freedom. Despite being abandoned by the international community, despite suffering a crime so monstrous as to strip their awareness of their own humanity, somehow, some enslaved men regain their dignity, some enslaved women learn to trust men, and some enslaved children manage to be kids. Skinner bears witness for them, and for the millions who are held in the shadows.
In so doing, he has written one of the most morally courageous books of our time, one that will long linger in the conscience of all who encounter it, and one that — just perhaps — may move the world to constructive action.

E. Benjamin Skinner was born in Wisconsin and is a graduate of Wesleyan University. He has reported on a wide range of topics from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East for such publications as Newsweek International, Travel + Leisure, and Foreign Affairs. He currently lives in Brooklyn. This is his first book.

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade – And How We Can Fight It by David Batstone (Harpur One, 2010)

Human trafficking generates $32 billion annually and enslaves over 30 million people, half of them children. Trafficking in people has become increasingly transnational in scope and highly lucrative. After illegal drug sales and arms trafficking, human trafficking is today the third most profitable criminal activity in the world, generating $31 billion annually. As many as half of all those trafficked worldwide for sex and domestic slavery are children under 18 years of age.
Batstone tells the inspiring stories of a new generation of abolitionists arising among us to put a stop to human trafficking. He tells the stories of rescued victims and their heroic rescuers, background briefings on human trafficking, and practical ideas that empower individuals and their communities to join the campaign for human freedom.

David Batstone, Ph.D., is Professor of Ethics at the University of San Francisco. His book Saving the Corporate Soul & (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own won the prestigious Nautilus Award for Best Business Book in 2004. Batstone also serves as Senior Editor of a business magazine, Worthwhile, and was a cofounder of Business 2.0. Batstone appears regularly in USA Today‘s Weekend Edition as “America’s ethics guru.”

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and  Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter (University of California Press, 2009)

In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States. In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner selling cheap trinkets, the man sweeping the floor of the local department store. In these pages we also meet some unexpected slaveholders, such as a 27-year old middle-class Texas housewife who is currently serving a life sentence for offences including slavery. Weaving together a wealth of voices–from slaves, slaveholders, and traffickers as well as from experts, counselors, law enforcement officers, rescue and support groups, and others–this book is also a call to action, telling what we, as private citizens, can do to finally bring an end to this horrific crime.

Kevin Bales, President of Free the Slaves in Washington, D.C. (www.freetheslaves.net) and Professor of Sociology at Roehampton University London in England, is the author of Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy and Understanding Global Slavery (both from UC Press), among other books.
Ron Soodalter, historian, folklorist, and lecturer, is the author of Hanging Captain Gordon: The Life and Trial of an American Slave Trader, as well as articles on the historic and modern slave trade, the Civil War, and the American West. A respected Lincolnian scholar, he serves on the Board of the Abraham Lincoln Institute.

Somebody’s Daughter: The Hidden Story of America’s Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them by Julian Sher. (Chicago Review Press, 2011)

They are America’s forgotten children, the hundreds of thousands of child prostitutes who walk the Las Vegas Strip, the casinos of Atlantic City, the truck stops on interstates, and the street corners of our cities. Many people wrongly believe sex trafficking involves young women from foreign lands. In reality, the majority of teens caught in the sex trade are American girls–runaways and throwaways who become victims of ruthless pimps.
In Somebody’s Daughter: The Hidden Story of America’s Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them, meet the girls who are fighting for their dignity, the cops who are trying to rescue them, and the community activists battling to protect the nation’s most forsaken children. Author Julian Sher takes you behind the scenes to expose one of America’s most underreported crimes: A girl from New Jersey gets arrested in Las Vegas and, at great risk to her own life, helps the FBI take down a million-dollar pimping empire. An abused teenager in Texas has the courage to take the stand in a grueling trial that sends her pimp away for 75 years. Survivors of the sex trade in New York, Phoenix, and Minneapolis set up shelters and rescue centers that offer young girls a chance to break free from the streets. “The sex trade is the new drug trade,” says one FBI special agent, and Somebody’s Daughter is a call to action, shining a light on America’s dirty little secret.

Julian Sher is an award-winning investigative journalist, TV writer and director, and the author of six books. The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and the BBC have featured his reporting on child abuse.

Discussion Questions

2 thoughts on “Read More, Learn More – June 2011 Book List

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