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on 7 January 2014
Like other reviewers of this book, I found it very hard to believe it. The author starts off with a picture of an almost impossibly buccolic childhood, telling us how she rolled in the hay with beagle puppies and grew up with a strong sense of right and wrong, how she sat next to Senators and held conversations with Cardinals, and was always taught to speak up for other people. How come, then, she meekly accepted that she had to become a sex slave to 'earn' back the pictures? She goes on about having a posse of Uncles who always looked after her - why couldn't she turn to them? And is it really believable that a girl of fifteen would get into a strange man's car and accept a ride home, then walk up to his bedroom with him and sit on his bed - and STILL be naive enough to think nothing is going to happen? How did the photos get taken without her noticing, and why does Daniel work in the school store if he lives in a fabulously wealthy home? If she can never earn the photos back, why does she keep answering the telephone to these men? Why do her parents, when she is brought home by a cop and covered in bloodstains, not try to find out what happened but her Mum immediately says her daughter has been out "whorin' around". That comment makes me think her parents must have known why she was answering those late night calls - could she really have sneaked out every night and come back covered in bruises without them noticing a thing? Why does her mother immediately think she's been up to no good with men?

The author states that nobody asks her what was wrong, in two years of her becoming more withdrawn and her grades falling. Are we really expected to believe that no-one - not her parents or a teacher - once asked her what was wrong? American high schools are involved in all parts of a student's life - there must have been someone, whether a teacher or one of her Uncles she could have confided in. She states she was afraid of tarnishing her family's reputation and risking her Dad's job - would he really be sacked because someone had found out his daughter had had sex? It would have blown over very quickly. Yet her parents supposedly know nothing for two years - they see her brought home by the police, covered in bloodstains, yet they don't ask her what happened or if she needs medical attention! She constantly states that she's pretty with 'creamy white skin', and seems to think that just because she was always "flanked by two Chaldeans" that should have raised alarms for her teachers. Why? Is it illegal to be friends with Arab boys - she was already helping two other Chaldean boys with their school-work, so why should two more raise any alarms in the teachers' mind? Yet we constantly hear how pretty she was, just a good ol' girl from the American suburbs, who was on call to a group of Arab men for two years, but her parents never once asked her where she'd been at night. She left the back door open every night so she could get back in - as she states she lived in a big house, how come they were not robbed?

Later in the book, the author tells us that her brother Patrick knew all about her secret life as a sex slave. Why did he not try to help her, as the book states they were very close? Why did he let it carry on? The Arabs - who have names like Jonathan, Daniel, Nick (very Arabic) - are said to have led her past piles of money and guns, and the author states they are a Chaldean mafia. If that was the case and given what she had seen and heard, would they really just get bored with her and let her go? Do the mafia just let a sex slave get in the car one day and drive out of town? The author states that she was aware another girl was now going through the same as what she had, but she makes little effort to stop this from happening, even though she believes in what is right and wrong, and in speaking up for those less fortunate than yourself. She mentions later on that the girl has gone missing, but she does not go to the police to help find her.

The part where God speaks to the author was just incredulous. She speaks to God and he talks back to her, telling her to go on the road and share her story with the world. This from a woman who was terrified of her family finding out anything?

If you ask me, this author has realised there is money to be made in the abuse story books. Why was Nick at school if he was running a highly successful business? How come Jonathan, the mafia leader, allowed her to choose whether she became his personal concubine? Why did the Chaldeans not come and find her after she moved, to ensure her silence? how come she was able to go straight back to being a normal teenager after she moved and the abuse ended?

Let's look at the bare facts here - almost all human trafficking stories tell of a vulnerable woman being kidnapped and forced to live as some kind of slave. During her supposed trafficking, Flores was allowed to return home every night, where she could have told her parents or the cops for all the supposd 'Chaldean mafia' knew, she obviously didn't mind missing their calls on nights when she went to the party with Jim, or when she worked in a fast food joint. Victims of huiman trafficking are not left to live like that. They are kidnapped, brutalized, and sadly some are killed when their ordeal is over. They are not going to high school every day and parties at night.

More bare facts. Human traffickers do not take girls from affluent backgrounds whose absence would be missed (did Flores' parents never come into her bedroom even once and notice she was missing?) - girls who could at any time tell their parents or the cops or a teacher? They do not let sex slaves go to high school, or parties, or on holiday. Human traffickers take the most vulnerable members of society - prostitutes, illegal immigrants, girls with learning disabilities - who it is easy to entrap and who aren't immediately missed. Who, if they don't come home on time, no-one immediately thinks the worst has happened to them. Using Flores and letting her continue her normal life at the same time would just be too risky - and why bother setting up the elaborate 'trap' of the pictures/blackmail when they could have picked up a prostitute without any of that hassle? If you read Josefina Rivera's book you will see why such men pick vulnerable girls as their prey, not high-school students from wealthy backgrounds. As the Chaldeans supposedly knew where Flores' father worked, and thought it an influential enough position for her to worry about his boss seeing the pictures, would they really think it risky enough to use his daughter as a sex slave??

Josefina Rivera was held captive as a sex slave for four months. She was not allowed home every night, allowed to go to parties or allowed to work in a fast food joint or go on holiday, all things Flores was allowed to do during her time as a suuposed sex slave. After she escaped, Rivera endured twenty years of flash-backs, terrifying nightmares, anxiety and depression, and nothing could assuage her pain and mental anguish except drugs. She did not immediately go back to living a normal life, as Flores claims she did - Rivera could find no peace anywhere and could not bear to be touched by another man. Flores suffered none of this - her book describes, instead, how once the abuse stopped, she became a 'normal teengaer' again and even started flirting with boys. Rivera nearly was almost suicidal with the memories of what she'd been through, and even 20 years later she feels she can never be 'normal' again.

Rivera had the chance to escape and save herself, but she ignored this and instead waited until she had the chance to escape and also save the lives of the other girls being held with her in the basement. They were chained up, raped, had their eardrums danaged (by their captor so they could not hear his comings and goings), and were subjected to horrific torture and sexual abuse. They did not go home every night to a big house, or go off on holiday when it suited them - they were HELD CAPTIVE.

Rivera risked her life to save the other women - Flores barely mentions the next girl the Chaldeans supposedly started trafficking - remember the girl with the "plain face"? - and Flores does not mention any action she might take to stop the Chaldeans forcing other girls into sex slavery in the future. She claims she will not name (their surname) the Chaldeans as they have not been arrested. So what? Surely she wants the police to know that other girls could be at risk, to find them before they meet possibly an even worse fate than she did? Doesn't she want Jane to be found and given help? Surely if this supposed Chaldean mafia had really had all the drugs and money and guns she claims she saw, the police would have acted on that and have arrested the Chaldeans by now??

When Rivera and the other girls escaped from the basement they were being held in, the press arrived in swarms - hundreds of reporters, press helicopters etc crowded to get a glimpse of the victims and to ask them questions. The press found out the hotel where the victims were staying and laid siege to it to get pictures of the girls. However, none of this happened with Flores. I haven't been able to find one newspaper report on the Internet from the time Flores' book was published, to show that such a press siege befell the woman who claimed she was used as a sex slave by a Chaldean mafia. Despite the fact that America and Iraq are enemies, there wasn't even a sniff of such press interest on the publication of Flores' book. No reporters clamouring for a quote, no photographers desperate for a picture of the woman who survived the Iraqi mafia, no press helicopters whirring overhead, and no need for police protection for Flores. Rivera was taken very quickly to the Attorney General to help build the case against the guy who held her captive - and he was just one man, not a whole mafia complete with drugs and guns, as Flores claims! The Attorney General did not call in Flores to discuss how this mafia could be brought to justice. Yet Flores claims they were using underage girls as sex slaves and into all kinds of activities that the police would surely go all out to bring down???? So why wasn't Flores' story taken as seriously as Rivera's?

Josefina Rivera gives the reader all the detail they could need to satisfy them that her story is real. There's place names, house numbers, names and surnames of those involved, so if they wanted to, anyone could check these details out and find out that what she said happened did happen. Rivera doesn't seek to portray herself constantly as a 'pretty' good ol' American girl, she admits that the life she was leading led her into the hands of the man who held her as a sex slave. Not that she is at any point to blame for what happened to her - the man who kidnapped her was a sick individual who ended up getting the death penalty. Flores' book is very vague on any places, dates, people's names, and other readers have brought up the point that some of the places she describes in the book aren't actually where she said they are or are called something different. I just can't understand why Flores would want to protect this so-called mafia. Supposedly they threatened to kill her if she talked, but then she moved away with her family and nobody came after her and no further threates were issued. She's made a career out of telling this story - and a very public career - and no member of this Chaldean mafia has attempted to silence her. So why continue to protect them, to not name them? Why is she so reluuctant to help the other girls that they could be using as sex slaves? These days Flores claims publicly that by speaking out about her story, she wants to save other girls from being trafficked. But where is the evidence of this - what is she doing to bring down this supposed Chaldean mafia and save the other girls - including her old friend - from them? How could she just get into that removal van and drive to another state, knowing that someone else was undergoing what she went through? Surely it would be worth going to the cops - and suffering a brief period of humiliation - to save another girl's life????

How likely is it that a Chaldean mafia operated at that point in time? Especially one the size Flores claims - there must have been hundreds of Chaldean men in that mafia, by Flores' claims. Firstly, were there really hundreds of Chaldean men in that area of America at the time? Add to the number of men, the number of their wives and children, and you have a very sizeable group. Yet in her book, Flores claims that the Chaldeans she knew were a small, private group. So would all these Chaldean men be into raping teenage girls? Supposedly not one of them had any scruples, any conscience enough to say 'stop that, it's wrong'? They all enjoyed raping an unwilling girl? Surely such a large group of Iraqi men congregating at that time would have drawn the suspicions of the police? This was at a time when America was getting ready for war with Iraq over Kuwait, so American sensibilities towards Iraq were heightened. Yet nobody became at all suspicious of a huge group of Iraqi men meeting at each other's houses? Where were all these men when Flores went to Church and only saw a small group of Chaldeans there? Flores seems to tar every Chaldean / Arab man with the same brush - they were all rapists, all nasty people, none of them had any saving graces. I'm afraid that just doesn't wash. Maybe she came across one or two bad apples, but hundreds??? We need to get real here.

Towards the end of the book, the author claims she attempted suicide. However, when you read that bit, you notice that she didn't actually try. She claims she attempted suicide, but all she did was lie on the bathroom floor and wait for her family to arrive (having first phoned them and dramatically told them she was ending her life, so assuring they'd come to her aid). She didn't take pills or cut her wrists or self-harm in any way. She just lay on the bathroom floor and waited for her family to arrive to witness her latest drama. It's interesting that her parents don't believe her story at all. If she was serious about suicide, she would have made an attempt without contacting anyone - but no, it was just another cry for attention. This woman obviously thrives on attention.

Sorry, but this tale was too unbelievable to me, and smacks of someone wanting to make us believe something when too many questions arise.
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on 5 December 2013
I can't make up my mind on this one, surely her parents would've heard her go out at night (nearly every night as it is claimed), surely they would've heard, and wondered who was ringing her phone nightly. Didn't her parents/brother's wonder why she would have baths in the middle of the night? Why didn't she disconnect her private phone line? She apparently done all of those awful things to get 'the pictures' back, she must have realised this was never going to happen after the 2nd, 3rd, 4th.... 30th time, she never told anyone because of her need to protect her family, not wanting to tarnish the family.... but then she went the complete opposite way and went so public with her story. To me it seems like a girl who was struggling with her home life (her mum and dads turbulent relationship) who craved attention, maybe harsh but that's my view. I assume because of this she was taken advantage of but it seems the overall story was exaggerated
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on 27 November 2013
I really don't know what to say about this book. I honestly can't believe that for 2 years her parents never heard her leave the house in the middle of the night, see her bruises, hear her in the bath in the night or wonder who called her phone line every night.
I'm not saying she made the whole thing up but some of it doesn't seem right. The first night she was raped and lost her viginity and the pictures were taken, how did she not see 2 people taking photos of her? And why would she try and get the photos back, anyone can re-print them from their camera so it made no sense to keep having sex with men for return of them.
Why no convictions? The boys went to school so they can be found easily enough even after years gone by. Why wouldn't you want to see them punished?
Why did the policeman do no more than take her home after finding her in a state and never interview her to find out more even though she alleges the policeman new what had happend to her?
I think the men took advantage of a young needy girl, craving affection she couldn't get from home. But a Sex Slave, I am not so sure.....
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on 8 October 2013
I have read many books about abuse, and have experience with working with victims of abuse. I felt very uncomfortable reading this as a lot of this didn't ring true. I could not understand how her parents never found out she went out every night without them or other family members ever finding out. Cutting across her neighbours garden every night and not be seen?! How could she have school friends? She would have been too tired to see anyone else. If she was brutally raped by as many as she said (and beaten) she would have had to get medical attention.

Sorry but did not believe this story. It sounds like some of it may be true but most have been written just to sell a book
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on 28 September 2013
Being retired with 25 years in the police service, I bought book after hearing Teresa give an interview on BBC Five Live Radio, reading it three times I found a few discrepancies, and things that just don't add up, (check interview with Teresa on BBC five Live). Page 190 of book, so descriptive of furniture in room and an average count of men, on Radio she claimed when entered motel room could not see furniture with amount of men in their Believing she was drugged, experience tells me no, as you read through book she is so vivid and descriptive and seems to remember every word that was said, but page 114 she can't remember how she ended up naked or on the bed with nick, but she is so descriptive of the actual sex and what he did and his cousin. Her claim Daniel raped her, she said on Radio I think I was drugged, again so vivid after the act she looks between her legs and sees the blood, shorts down by her knees, managed to get in and out of bath, claim she blacked out, pages 98 to 100 after blacking out she said reluctantly I opened my eyes, before what she calls rape she was having major four-play, if blacked out you would one be thinking, `'I will reluctantly open my eyes ''.She claimed she always blacked out in these gang bangs but she had hiatal Hernia, symptoms are fainting, light headedness, heartburn, nausea leaks acid fluid into diaphragm causing ulcers.
The comments she uses throughout this book, `'it was only sex,'' `'I realized I could handle any sex act,'' page 96, `'I daydreamed of this moment for a long time,'' `'thought of Jim but I knew kiss was harmless,'' page 138 to 139 cute boys hung here, smelt sex and experience on me, I thought surprisingly on this occasion I would welcome attention, could be normal no one would know me,does this sound like a rape victim, or someone sexually aware?
Sound like a girl who is gang banged up to 25+ plus men every other night? Who states she was forced and raped? Her mum calls her vain always pampering in front of mirror, my experience in cases for a woman to get back to some sort of normality takes time, but she meets her so called rapist Daniel again 3 days after she said he raped , how many victims want to meet there violator? None. Claims Nick hardly spoke to her but read the book you will see he says more than she lets on. When reading this book I wanted to see a fighter beaten the odds, impression from her writing was a girl sexually awakening seeking male attention, to fit in, when Daniel told her she had to have sex with his cousins read response and read around it, make up your own minds, after 2 years claiming to be a sex slave she went to bars looking for strangers for sex, college the same most rape victims it takes months maybe years to get to even think about it, their lives are never normal again.
I felt this was the little girl who cried wolf, a girl enjoying the attention maybe the sex with certain amount of men, then taking photos as she sits loving the attention, after feelings of guilty set about what she was doing, the book never comes across as somebody raped beaten and tortured, never taken to hospital, rape brings serious internal injuries sometimes needing surgery, the throat would be damaged as well as the gums and lips due to the force, other orifices would be split with tears needing urgent attention, but no hospital, not even catching a sexual disease, 5% of women raped by 1 man catch a disease, those gang raped is usually 70% but continually gang raped surely percentage has to rise especially over two years, not even a pregnancy, seen women found years later being held captive have kids, surely they too would be under most extreme stress, the parents would have noticed something was wrong her pyjamas would have smelt of man fluid, stained.
Maybe I am being harsh but after years of experience serving my country in law facts speak more than words anyone can write, after 30 years no charges never gone to police, I am sorry this book never gave me the impression of someone with injustice yet her dad was a judge, notice as you read how many time she admits to lying, anyone can write a story but nobody can cover the scars, I have seen many scars in my job many who's words were the same, the book and the BBC five live interview help shape my mind, there is more to this story than is listed, another side.
If this was a true story why wait 30 years other girls she could have saved from the type of abuse she describes, with 4000 men having sex with her over 2 years, things just don't add up. And I know I am not the only one who thinks this.
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on 18 April 2014
Omg what can I say but so so sad think I cried throughout thus book but what a fighter she was God bless you and wish you and your family peace xx
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on 31 May 2015
Fantastic gripping story a courageous recommending this story to one person to read,you could also help save someone's life.
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on 23 January 2016
A brilliant book couldn't put it down. What the poor girl went through was horrific. Really wanted it all to end for her.
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on 1 June 2014
I am amazed that this kind of thing happens! The strength and willingness of Theresa to help others is so very brave!
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on 20 July 2014
so very sad,, believable,, harrowing,,opened my eyes to what just may be going on in your own street,,
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