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Review: Trafficked (Sophie Hayes)

The Deets:
Audience: Older YA+
Pages: 308
Publisher: January 19th 2012 by Harpercollins Publishers            
ISBN: 9780007438884        
Genre: nonfiction, memoir
Source: eARC from Netgalley


When Sophie Hayes met Bledi she knew he'd change her life – but she had no idea how much. At first, it was a typical whirlwind romance. But one day Bledi told her that love always comes at a price ...

Bledi tricked Sophie into travelling to Italy, where he forced her to sell her body to help him pay off a debt. Terrified and ashamed, Sophie worked the dangerous Italian streets without rest, seeing as many as 30 clients in a night. She was completely at Bledi′s mercy for food, clothes and shelter. And without money, friends or family, she was trapped.

But Sophie found the strength to keep going, clinging to life by a single thread of hope: that somehow she′d find a way to escape.



I have mixed feelings toward this book.

First and foremost, the content and basis of this horrific story is terrifying. You cannot dispute that. I've actually been aware of the issue of human trafficking for some time, and it never stops amazing me. I am amazed at how evil people can be. I am amazed how easy it is to make someone disappear. and I am amazed that more isn't being done to bring awareness to this heinous crime.

For those reasons, Sophie's story was hard to dismiss. It was full of brutal violence that no one should have to experience. Ever. I found myself shedding silent tears as I read because I could just not fathom the enormity of what this girl went through.

But I had a hard time with this book as well. Sophie was hard to connect with. As I read the beginning of this book, I just could not believe what I was reading. I find it so hard to imagine someone being so foolish. Maybe it's my cynical nature, but even in my early 20s I was never trusting. So, for a young girl like Sophie not to take alarm to a complete stranger getting her cell number and texting her-- I just could not relate. It just screamed psycho stalker from page one. To understand why Sophie struck up a friendship with a complete stranger under these circumstances, I really needed more insight. It was not there though.

In fact, the insight I was looking for came at intervals. There were many chapters of just frank, undiluted brutality. Then the story would jump forward to the present. Towards the end, it became a bit of a challenge to keep up with, especially when the remainder of the story stayed in the present.

But one thing that I just cannot understand if how Sophie felt any inkling of sentiment for the men that paid her for sex. She mentioned a few men from Italy in particular and the desire to see them again. WTH... no thank you. I just cannot imagine that. I think I would hate the people that did those things to me with such a deep-rooted passion that I would not be able to feel anything but disgust for them. No matter the situation or circumstance. I certainly couldn't think of forgiveness or friendship.

To be very honest, it took the letters at the end of the book for me to really put this story in perspective. Sophie's mother's letter is what gave me the glimpse of insight the whole story seemed to lack. She summed it up well when she said there was so explanation for why Kas let Sophie return to England with them. I was left wondering that as well as I read. I think it's clear that it was a miracle. In the midst of one of the worst situations I can think of, a glimmer of hope and opportunity crept through.

I don't know of too may books out there about this subject matter. I've never read one before at least. For that, I think Sophie's story is important and deserves a voice. It's a warning. Trust should not be given freely, my friends. Again, it's probably my cynical nature speaking for I have seen way too many acts of evil towards children in my short amount of years. But if Sophie's story can teach just one young woman a lessen that saves her from the same path, it's worth it.

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