Read More, Learn More – October 2011 Book List

In Our Backyard: A Christian Perspective on Human Trafficking in the United States by Nita Belles (Free River, 2011)

In Our Backyard invites the reader into the lives of human trafficking victims, survivors and the traffickers themselves with true stories. These stories not only inform the reader, but also take them quickly through a well-documented crash course about human trafficking–better described as modern-day slavery–in the United States. A quick read which includes study questions for small groups, In Our Backyard could change your life and save lives around you.

About the Author: Nita Belles has worked with victims/survivors of domestic violence for many years, specializing in working with churches and related faith issues. Presently, as the Central Oregon Regional Coordinator for Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans (OATH), which is an extension of the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force, she focuses on helping victims/survivors of human trafficking and raising awareness about modern-day slavery. Nita began studying about human trafficking and slavery in 2006. The more she studied, the more she knew she couldn’t sit on the sidelines while these atrocities were taking place all over the world, including in her own backyard. Also, a former Associate Pastor, she holds a Master’s Degree in Theology with a concentration in Women’s Concerns.

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook  (Andrew McMeels Publishing, 2011)

Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright. But in Tomatoland investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook reveals the huge human and environmental cost of the $5 billion fresh tomato industry. The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States. How have we come to this point?

Tomatoland reads like a suspenseful whodunit as well as an expose of today’s agribusiness systems and the price we pay as a society when we take taste and thought out of our food purchases.

“In fast-moving, tautly narrated scenes, Barry Estabrook tells the startling story of labor conditions that should not exist in this country or this century, and makes sure you won’t look at a supermarket or fast-food tomato the same way again. But he also gives hope for a better future–and a better tomato. Anyone who cares about social justice should read Tomatoland. Also anyone who cares about finding a good tomato you can feel good about eating.” –Corby Kummer, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The Pleasures of Slow Food

About the Author: James Beard Award-winning journalist Barry Estabrook was a contributing editor at Gourmet magazine for eight years, writing investigative articles about where food comes from. He was the founding editor of Eating Well magazine and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health, Audubon, and the Washington Post, and contributes regularly to The Atlantic Monthly‘s website. His work has been anthologized in the Best American Food Writing series, and he has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows. He lives and grows tomatoes in his garden in Vermont.

Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales (University of California Press, 2004)

Slavery is illegal throughout the world, yet more than twenty-seven million people are still trapped in one of history’s oldest social institutions. Kevin Bales’s disturbing story of contemporary slavery reaches from Pakistan’s brick kilns and Thailand’s brothels to various multinational corporations. His investigations reveal how the tragic emergence of a “new slavery” is inextricably linked to the global economy. This completely revised edition includes a new preface. All of the author’s royalties from this book go to fund antislavery projects around the world.

About the Author: Kevin Bales is President of Free the Slaves, Washington, DC, ( and Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey Roehampton, England. He is the world’s leading expert on contemporary slavery.

Woman, Child for Sale: The New Slave Trade in the 21st Century by Gilbert King (Chamberlain Bros., 2004)

Every year, there are more than 4 million victims of human trafficking around the world, from forced prostitution and pornography, to sweatshop and migrant labor. Some estimates put the figure at 50,000 human slaves living in the United States, through fraud, coercion and outright kidnapping, prompting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to claim that the United States is determined to stop “this appalling assault on the dignity of men, women and children.” But Powell made those remarks back in 2002 and, if anything, human trafficking is on the rise around the world. Today’s slave trade is estimated to generate more than $7 billion in annual revenues–all of it “exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable,” according to President George Bush, who has pledged millions of U.S. dollars to support organizations working to free these slaves.

Woman, Child–For Sale examines the horrors of these black market operations that kidnap and purchase women and children and move them across borders, erasing their identities and forcing them into a ruinous life of slavery. The book takes an in-depth look at: Personal Stories of Rescued Sex Slaves and Survivors. The New Slave Traders: Who are they?, The World’s Worst Human Trafficking Offenders, and Fighting the New Slave Trade. Woman, Child–For Sale details the explosive and heartbreaking stories behind the nameless, statistical nightmare that is human slavery in the 21st century.

About the Author: Gilbert King is a photographer and writer. He has been published in the San Diego Union and was an editor for Mirror Magazines. His photography has appeared in New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine.

Children in the Global Sex Trade by Julia O’Connell Davidson (Polity, 2005)

This compelling new book explores the complexities of the global child sex industry, but without falling into cliche and melodrama. Julia O’Connell Davidson draws attention to the multitude of ways in which children become implicated in the sex trade, and the devastating global political and economic inequalities that underpin their involvement. She sensitively unpicks the relationship between different aspects of the sexual exploitation of children, including trafficking, prostitution and pornography, at the same time challenging popular conceptions of childhood and sexuality. This thought-provoking book will be of interest to general readers, and to students taking a range of courses, such as gender studies and childhood studies, and courses on sexuality and globalisation.

About the Author: Julia O’Connell Davidson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham

Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings: All Roads Lead to America by Sheldon X. Zhang (Praeger, 2007)

Coming to America to make a better life has long been a dream of many from around the world, even if it means being smuggled into the country to gain entry. This book examines how human smuggling and trafficking activities to the United States are carried out and explores the legal and policy challenges of dealing with these problems. Zhang covers the scope and patterns of global human trafficking and smuggling activities; the strategies and methods employed by various groups to bring individuals into the United States; major smuggling routes and venues; the involvement of organized criminal organizations in transnational human smuggling activities; and the challenges confronting the U.S. government in combating these activities.

About the Author: Sheldon X. Zhang is Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University. He is the author of Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations, and his articles have appeared in journals such as Criminology, British Journal of Criminology, Crime, Law and Social Change, and Transnational Organized Crime.

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