Read More, Learn More – May 2012 Book List

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown (Broadway, 2007)

Cupcake (La’Vette) Brown went from the relative security of life in a working-class neighborhood of San Diego to hardship and uncertainty when, at the age of 11, her mother died. Her estranged biological father lost interest when an expected insurance payout didn’t materialize, and Cupcake and her brother were left with a merciless foster mother and her abusive son. Unable to take the mistreatment, Cupcake drifted into a life of prostitution, drug addiction, gang affiliation, stealing, homelessness, and any available means of survival. Her salvation comes in an unlikely group of fellow addicts who encourage her to change. Brown takes the same fortitude it took to survive the streets and uses it to become a lawyer. Her story of survival and triumph is incredible and often rough.

A Piece of Cake is unlike any memoir you’ll ever read. Moving and almost transgressive in its frankness, it is a relentlessly gripping tale of a resilient spirit who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with a furious wit and unyielding determination. Cupcake Brown is a dynamic and utterly original storyteller who will guide you on the most satisfying, startlingly funny, and genuinely affecting tour through hell you’ll ever take.

About the Author – Cupcake Brown practices law at one of the nation’s largest law firms and lives in San Francisco. You can learn more about her at Cupcake Brown.

The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek (Arcade Publishing, 2005)

On the black market, they’re the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and drugs – the only difference being that these goods are human, though to their handlers they are wholly expendable. They are women and girls, some as young as 12, from all over the Eastern bloc, where sinister networks of organized crime have become entrenched in the aftermath of the collapse of Communist regimes. In Israel, they’re called “Natashas”, whether they’re actually from Russia, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, or Ukraine, no matter what their real names may be. They’re lured into vans and onto airplanes with promises of jobs as waitresses, models, nannies, dishwashers, maids, and dancers. But when they arrive at their destinations, they are stripped of their identification, and their nightmare begins. They are sold into prostitution and kept enslaved; those who resist are beaten, raped, and sometimes killed as examples. They often have nowhere to turn; in many cases, the men who should be rescuing them – from immigration officials to police officers and international peacekeepers – are among their aggressors.

About the Author – Victor Gregory Malarek (born 26 June 1948 in Lachine, Quebec) is a Canadian journalist and author.

Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress edited by Melissa Farley (Routledge, 2004)

Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress offers the reader an analysis of prostitution and trafficking as organized interpersonal violence. Even in academia, law, and public health, prostitution is often misunderstood as “sex work.” The book’s 32 contributors offer clinical examples, analysis, and original research that counteract common myths about the harmlessness of prostitution. They extensively document the violence that runs like a constant thread throughout all types of prostitution, including escort, brothel, trafficking, strip club, pornography, and street prostitution. Prostitutes are always subjected to verbal sexual harassment and often have a lengthy history of trauma, including childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect, racism, economic discrimination, rape, and other physical and sexual violence. International in scope, the book contains cutting-edge contributions from clinical experts in traumatic stress, from attorneys and advocates who work with trafficked women, adolescents, and children and also prostituted women and men. A number of chapters address the complexity of treating the psychological symptoms resulting from prostitution and trafficking. Others address the survivor’s need for social supports, substance abuse treatment, peer support, and culturally relevant services.

About the Author – In the preface to Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress, Melissa Farley states: “Prostitution is to the community what incest is to the family. Slavery, at its height, was normalized in the United States as unpleasant but inevitable, yet it is now considered to be an institution that violated human rights. Perhaps we will at some point in the future look back on prostitution/trafficking with a similar historical perspective. It is my hope that this book will assist the reader in understanding prostitution and trafficking and in how to help women and children escape it.”

Child Exploitation and Trafficking: Exploring the Global Challenges and U. S. Responses by Virginia M. Kendall and T. Markus Funk (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)

Each year, more than two million children around the world fall victim to commercial sexual exploitation. The numbers of children sexually abused for non-commercial purposes are even higher. Put simply, the growing, increasingly-organized epidemic of child exploitation demands a coordinated response.
The aim of this book is to bring some fresh thinking to this complicated area of the law, and to help erase some of its counterproductive mythology. The book provides the first comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of child sexual exploitation, as well as to the interconnected web of domestic and transnational federal laws and law enforcement efforts launched in response thereto. It is written from the distinctive perspective of those who have spent their careers in the trenches investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating these intricate and commonly emotional cases. Relying on real-world examples, the authors offer proscriptive and descriptive practical advice and reform proposals aimed at those involved at all levels in this difficult area. Serving as a “first-line” resource for clear, practical thinking on the range of complex, and often misunderstood, investigative, prosecutorial, and rehabilitative issues surrounding child exploitation cases, this work is a must-have for anyone with interest in the protection of children from sexual exploitation and trafficking.

About the Authors – Virginia M. Kendall is a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Before being elevated to the federal bench, Judge Kendall served as a deputy chief in the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago, where for more than ten years she served as the child exploitation coordinator. She travels extensively both domestically and internationally teaching judges and lawyers about crimes against women and children, and is an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and Loyola University School of Law.

T. Markus Funk served as a federal prosecutor in Chicago for more than ten years, and spent two years in Kosovo as the U. S. Department Of Justice (USDOJ) Resident Legal Advisor. He has taught law at, among other places, Oxford University, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the USDOJ National Advocacy Center; was awarded USDOJ and the State Department’s highest service awards; and is the author of three books and dozens of criminal law–related articles and book chapters. His legal work is featured in outlets such as CNBC, CNN, the Economist, the Los Angeles Times, the National Law Journal, National Geographic Channel, MSNBC, and the Wall Street Journal.

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