The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter–Book Review

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

This is not a “Christian” book, but it is a book that Christians should read. Everyone accepts that slavery is an evil thing, perpetrated by bad people. However, we also believe that slavery is a thing of the past in America. Not true! Did you know:

*According to a U.S. State Department study, between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States from other countries and enslaved every year.

*Native-born Americans are not immune from slavery–many are taken from the streets of their own towns and cities, and many are children.

*Slaves in America are found in nearly all fifty states, working as sex slaves, fruit pickers, construction workers, gardeners and domestic helpers.

*Slavery generates millions of dollars in income each year for criminals who take advantage of vulnerable people — children, the uneducated, the impoverished and the desperate.

*Worse yet, this crime often goes unpunished. The national success rate in solving murder cases is 70% — the percentage of trafficking and slavery solved is less than 1%.

*Every one of us, every day, touches, wears, and eats products tainted with slavery.

The authors give many examples from true life, lots of statistics, and resources for finding out more. The final chapter lists suggestions for joining in the fight against slavery. Most slaves are discovered because a member of the public notices something odd and speaks up. Of course, there are many other ways to work toward eliminating slavery, everything from raising public awareness to donating money and buying free trade goods.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. if you’re anything like me, this book will both horrify and challenge you. It was written in 2009, so the statistics may be somewhat dated.

For more on human trafficking see:

Vulnerable by Raleigh Sadler– Book Review

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore–Book Review

For more information about modern day slavery, visit Free The Slaves at:

Home

They also have a number of documentaries availabe for viewing on YouTube.

The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore–Book Review

After my last book review, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman–Book Review, I was in the mood for something lighter.  The Paper Daughters of Chinatown fit the bill.  Based on the life of Donaldina Cameron, who worked at the Occidental Mission Home for Girls in San Francisco for 39 years, it illuminates the plight of young women who were tricked into immigrating to the United States as “paper daughters” — claiming to be relatives of Chinese already living here.  Upon arrival, instead of a rich husband, they found themselves sold into slavery, in many cases forced prostitution.  The Mission (which still exists and is now called The Cameron House) rescued and educated them.

The book covers only the first decade of Miss Cameron’s involvement with the Mission Home.  Each chapter begins with an epigraph citation taken from an actual document from the time period, describing the Mission’s work and vision.  There are chapter notes at the back explaining the historical background each character and rescue described is based upon.  Discussion questions and a selected bibliography for further reading are also included.

Donaldina (who was called Dolly by friends) is an inspiring Christian role model for all of us.  She came to see the Mission as her calling, and the Chinese girls she rescued and mentored as her true daughters.  They called her “Lo Mo” which is a term of affection translated as “Old Mother.”

The mission of the Cameron House has changed, but it continues to serve the needs of Asian immigrant families in San Francisco through counseling, domestic violence intervention, food distribution, support groups, after school programs and more.  You can check out their website:  http://CameronHouse.org for additional information.  Donaldina’s work has become a lasting legacy.

VERDICT:  5 Stars.  This is an easy read, but edifying.  It would be a good choice for a Book Club.

Human trafficking is still an issue today.  For more on this topic see:

Vulnerable by Raleigh Sadler– Book Review

 

Vulnerable by Raleigh Sadler– Book Review

All I can say is WOW!  I didn’t  want to read this book at first — I ordered it from B&H Publishers because the book I really wanted to review was not available.  I know very little about human trafficking, and what could I do about that anyway?  Now that I’ve come to the end (lining up with our monthly theme, lol) I’m very glad I gave it a try.

First of all, Mr. Sadler defines trafficking — and it’s not all about sex and kidnapping.

“The act:  the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people.  The means:  force, fraud, and coercion.  The purpose:  people are trafficked for “prostitution … or other forms of sexual slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Putting it very simply, human trafficking is exploiting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

Who is a vulnerable person?  Anyone who has an unmet need.  This need can be material, emotional, psychological and/or financial.  If someone is homeless, undocumented, in the foster care system, or the penal system they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Often trafficking of vulnerable people is going on right around us, and we look right through it.  Sometimes the people themselves do not understand that they are being victimized — they believe they have consented, or are party to their enslavement.  They are in, or have lived in a situation where exploitation and demoralization are regarded as normal.

The theme of this book is that we are all vulnerable, and that:

“God motivates vulnerable people like you and me to love other people by his own vulnerability for us.”

Lost in our sins, we are completely vulnerable.  Yet Jesus became a man, vulnerable as we are, to die for us.  Do you believe this?  If so, action will flow out of this belief.  Maybe you are thinking that alone there isn’t much you can do.  However, the author stresses that

“Community is the most underrated tool needed to discover how God is calling us to love our neighbor.”

This book is full of eye-opening facts.  For example, as consumers, our supply chain is so infected with use of what is essentially slave labor.  In other words, people  around the globe are forced to work in slavery-like conditions so that we can enjoy our comfortable life style.  You can find out how much you contribute to world slavery by visiting SlaveryFootprint.org.

At the end of the book is a list ways to fight human trafficking, including many resources to learn more about the problem and it’s solution.

VERDICT:  The theology underlying the book is sound.  I give it five stars.  If you would like to purchase your own copy, follow the link below:

Vulnerable

 

 

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255