Friday, April 26, 2013

‘Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking in America’ by Susan Norris – Book Review

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One of the saddest and most surprising evils that one human can perpetuate on another is to take advantage of other people and use them as sex slaves. Susan Norris has written a book 
entitled ‘Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking in America’ that is a real eye opener.

Here is the synopsis of this powerful book:

Every two minutes, evil strips innocence from a child and sells her into slavery for sex. Not in a
third-world country, but in the United States of America. Before you take another breath, the next victim will be tricked or taken from her family by a profit-hungry criminal.
She could be a neighbor. A friend. Your sister. Your daughter. You.
At fourteen, Hope Ellis is the all-American girl with a good life – until the day she tries to help her mom with their cross-country move by supervising the movers. When they finish, one of the men returns to the house and rapes her. Held silent by the threats, darkness begins to engulf her. But the rape proves to be the least of Hope’s troubles. In a gasping attempt at normalcy, she succumbs to the attention of a smooth-talking man on the subway. He promises acceptance. He declares his love. He lures her out from under the shelter of her suburban life.
Hope’s disappearance sets a community in motion. She’s one of their own. They determine to find Hope, whatever the cost, before she’s lost forever.

Here is the biography of the author:

A powerful voice for hope, international speaker Susan Norris helps teens and women find freedom in the areas of purity and spiritual identity. With a master’s of education from UNC-Greensboro, this former teacher now networks for organizations such as Resolution Hope and Not for Sale and raises her voice for victims of sex trafficking across the nation. Susan serves as a catalyst for action among her peers and walks alongside rescued girls as they piece together their shattered lives. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children and considers them to be her highest calling.

Here is Ms. Norris talking about her book:

In the Acknowledgements, Ms. Norris thanks her readers:

To my readers, thank you for taking the time to read about a difficult subject, when it would be easy to turn away. I pray Rescuing Hope stirs something inside you to propel you into action. Find your place in the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. There’s room for everyone in this battle. We need your voice, your gifts, your talents. What part will you play in becoming a voice for hope? (p. x)

This book is written for a young adult audience. Ms. Norris explains the contents of the book at its beginning:

What you are about to read is fiction. However, the events in this book are based on interviews with survivors of human sex trafficking, their families, detectives, people from religious and rescue organizations on the frontlines, and a former pimp. Some of the content is mature, and though we have strived for a PG-13 treatment of it, this book should be read with adult supervision.
We encourage you to take any questions to an adult you trust.

I was truly quite stunned by this book. Ms. Norris tells a true-to-life story of a young teen who was taken in by a pimp and used to earn lots of money for himself. I was fairly familiar with the problem of human trafficking, but had never thought about it from the perspective of the young victim. Ms. Norris opened my eyes to the truth of the evil. It is unfathomable to me that this is happening in the United States, and in such great numbers. Here Detective Johnson gives some statistics to Hope’s mother:

“It happens all over the world, even in America. Even in Atlanta. It’s hard to get a handle on, because these guys are smart and they don’t leave any trails behind. They keep minors locked away somewhere, so we don’t see them out on the streets very often like adult prostitutes. With today’s technology, pimps use the Internet and cell phones to advertise girls. The johns, the guys who pay for sex with minors, go to the girls, instead of the other way around. It’s hard to catch them, but we’re not giving up.” (p. 154)

At the back of the book, Ms. Norris included ‘Discussion Starters.’ This book is in the Young Adult
category. I think it would be valuable for parents to work through this book with their teens – both male and female – to educate them on the tactics of these predators, so that they can guard against and protect themselves from them. Here is an example of one of the questions:

·         T gained information from Hope quickly and almost effortlessly. What steps do you take to protect yourself when talking with people you’ve just met? What about online? (p. 191)

Ms. Norris also shared some organizations with which you can get involved – to give of your voice, gifts, and talents in this fight for freedom and awareness. Some of the listed groups are Wellspring Living and Out of Darkness. It is good to know that there are numerous organizations that are trying to help eradicate this evil.

Despite the disturbing subject matter, I am glad I read this book. It enlightened me to a difficult topic, and I appreciate that Ms. Norris took the time to share this valuable information with her reading audience.

This book is published by iUniverse Book and was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review purposes.

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