This book was tough read, but not due to lack of literary merit. It was difficult to read, because of the accounts of so many victimized girls and women right in the very U.S.A where we live. I stand firmly corrected that Sex Trafficking and CSEC (Commercially, Sexually, Exploited Children) is not a Thailand, India, Russia, etc issue. It is a human issue. Rachel Lloyd captures the anguish and torment of young girls in vivid details. I was moved to rage and commitment to take action. I will never be the same after reading this book. I highly recommend it for readings not just in an academic setting, but in churches, schools, or just personal knowledge and awareness.
This book opened my eyes to many aspects of the sex industry, starting with the very fact that most "women" being bought and sold are actually underage girls (some not even teenagers) who have been forced into selling sex, first by a need to survive, then usually by violent means by the person taking the money. Rachel Lloyd weaves her own story in and out of the stories of the many girls she has helped, also providing stats and research. She addresses the pain and victimization of these girls by their pimps, johns, police, and even society that does not see them as real people. Somehow, she manages to tell all of this and leave the reader with hope along with immense admiration for her and the girls she serves.
I've only recently become much of a reader. My ADHD usually gets the best of me--five books at a time without finishing one.
This book will keep you on target and glued to your seat--so ADHD people take note :-)
As a male, hopefully it will help you understand that prostitutes are not commodities that you can buy, sell, and then go home. Just because you pay for the service doesn't make it a legitimate business transaction--for that to happen it would have to be good for both the buyer and the seller. Transactions for the services of a prostitute aren't good for either party. (I'm a male)
I don't think anyone wakes up and suddenly realizes they've accomplished their childhood dreams by becoming a prostitute. This book will not only drive that point out of the park, but more importantly, it will help you to understand that it happens for a variety of reasons--and none of them are good.
The worst part of the whole picture is what happens after the dollars have changed hands--and what happens to make the sale possible.
For the ladies, I'm not one so I'm not sure what to say except maybe have your man read it--he needs to hear the message. Internet pornography is pushing a tsunami whether you realize it or not. That's not what the books about, but that's where it's going without awareness. I think this book provides a great starting place to help make men more aware of how their actions could have a catastrophic impact on another human being and their family. If they look at pornography long enough, they will most likely act out--it's not harmless. If you suspect they watch it or you've caught them there's a pretty good chance it's happening more frequently than you realize. Google some statistics--men are hardwired for visual stimulation,and that's what can get them in trouble. Sorry for the rant, this is a book review--but that's my take on the issue.
Rachel, thanks for helping me to understand. May God bless and keep the girls you've helped save and the ones that haven't been reached yet. If Big Boys don't cry then I'm not a Big Boy--I wept like a baby, so thanks for the commercial interruptions you built into the book that allowed me to stop crying long enough to finish the book. Thanks for standing up in a world that would rather have you sit down.
I read a lot of memoirs many of which are on the subject of sex trafficking. I haven't reviewed many of these books because who am I to rate someone else's story or to critique the writing ability of a survivor. Also, what teaches or inspires me (or doesn't) might not be the same for another person. However, of all the sex trafficking memoirs (both by survivors and advocates) I've read, this one captured me more than any other. Finding I was at the end of each chapter made me feel like a tv binge watcher...I just had to keep going regardless of what else I might be neglecting. Ms. Lloyd does an excellent job of balancing between telling the story of her past, inviting us into the lives of the GEMS ladies and telling her current story. I truly appreciated the insight she gave into the psychological side of sex trafficking victims whether they are in the life, have left the life or have returned to the life. She opened my eyes to behaviors and thought processes I never could've grasped otherwise.
Rachel begins this memoir by explaining that she is the Executive Director of a Program named GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services). The program is designed to help girls and young women who have been recruited and trafficked into the commercial sex industry. GEMS is a place where the girls can come and receive counseling from caseworkers; learn different skills such as (poetry, cooking, boxing group); use computers or just simply hang out.
Rachel has a unique story of her own because she used to be a “Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth.” Rachel knows firsthand of the things that happened to a girl while they are in “The Life.” As Rachel shares her story from the age of 13 until her mid-thirties; she explains the life of a trafficked child in rich detail. Rachel explains of key phrases and terminology used by the girls and those used by law enforcement. Rachel explains that politicians, officials, police and many other people have biases towards these girls. Rachel also explains several scenarios that would enlist a girl to be sexually exploited. Rachel gives us several stories of the girls that has entered and left the GEMS program. Rachel describes how pimps recruit young girls and also how they treat the same girls badly. Rachel explains how the media can affect the outcome of a case and how much help a person can get on a case. Rachel has learned that through her helping these girls for 10 years that she has learned to value herself.