on 14 September 2007
It's not my usual read but then, this book had a way of gripping you. Ms Gupta develops a cohesive argument that one day we may not be so precious about border controls because they don't achieve very much and instead lead to much inhumanity.
The main body of the book is based on case histories - a 17-year old Russian girl trafficked to this country for sex, a street child from Sierra Leone brought here as a domestic slave, etc. I must sadly admit that most of the gangster flicks pale into insignificance when compared to the living brutalities Ms Gupta recounts. These are real stories of exploitation, from the mouths of those exploited, happening, chillingly, at recognisable streets and places in the UK. The first few pages alone are like sitting through the film `Saving Private Ryan' - bloody and brutal and impossible to escape. Some of the stories are a little more difficult in their flow but you soon get used to the style.
From these case histories, Ms Gupta makes the connection to the new arrivals being the new slaves in Britain, their status as fragile as a parcel with no address label. Many are forced to go underground, aided by complex immigration rules, where they may remain for the rest of their lives, exploited for their cheap labour. Ms Gupta quotes Kevin Bales, Director of Free the Slaves, "In Brazil slaves made the charcoal that tempered the steel that made the springs in your car and the blade on your lawnmower". The connection is also made here of Western interests leading to war and unrest in developing countries which in turn displaces people who flee towards the West for safety.
By exposing the uncomfortable truth of how we are happily gaining from slave labour around the world but firmly closing our eyes/doors the moment 'modern slavery' is seen to happen in our own back yard, `Enslaved' raises an important and urgent issue for modern day Britain. A must read for anyone concerned about the human rights of desperate people living in our midst. Nicely timed too, to coincide with the bicentennary of the supposed abolition of slavery.
on 24 May 2008
Reading Enslaved,really made me appreciate the human spirit. It's amazing what people go through and still manage to survive. The story of Liu Bao Ren is astonishing. It could easily be made into a film. And should be.
Enslaved is an eye opener, because we all think that slavery doesn't exist any more,or that it doesn't affect us. It made me look at the city I live in and wonder how many 'enslaved' people are living in it. Thank goodness this book brings the issue out into the open. It's a really intelligently written book, with very moving stories.
This book made me so grateful for my rights and liberties. They should never be taken for granted. No society is completely perfect, but a society where there's openness, opportunity and basic freedoms is to be valued.
I totally recommend this book.
on 19 June 2008
It's incredible what a human being can suffer and endure. Regular beatings, unbelievable hardship, incarceration, helplessness...
Enslaved shows the hidden lives of people who are trafficked and prostituted,or imprisoned and persecuted. It makes me so glad for my own life, so appreciative of the simple things, the simple freedoms that I take for granted.
I do wonder why human beings hurt each other so much. Why they exploit each other so brutally?
Enslaved is really movingly written, with great feeling and intelligence. Everyone has to read it. It'll make you think about all the important things in life. And about all the important things in your own, personal life.
on 19 June 2012
This book is not a book that you can't put down - I can only desbribe it as mildly interesting but definitely not a riveting read. It consists of about five or six accounts of individuals (who wanted to escape their own country due to persecution, poverty or forced marriage and they want to come to England or some other country in Europe) interspersed with factual details by the author such as laws of the relevant country, customs of that country and the procedures of the Home Office in England etc. To call it Enslaved The New British Slavery is totally misleading. These individuals are exploited by their own countrymen (Afghanistan, China, India etc) and not by indigenous British people as the title would have you believe.