Last year I wrote Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave to try and raise awareness about trafficking, so after my research for it I was expecting a lot of the horrific ordeal that Sarah describes in her book, but many others may not be. This book is a must-read and is very well-written. You will cry while reading Sarah's heart-breaking story, and you will feel disgusted, sick, and angry, but it's a story that needs to be read. No one should have to go through this. Slave Girl addresses a lot of common misconceptions surrounding prostitution - mainly that these women must've got into it by choice. Society doesn't pay attention to the reason prostitutes are doing what they're doing. They don't stop and think how they got into that situation - far better to ignore it than have to deal with the horrendous fact that trafficking is a huge global problem that makes a hell of a lot of money for those involved, from the bottom right up to the very top. That woman working on a street corner or in a sauna or massage parlour that you see every day could be trafficked. In the UK, it is not hidden from view, but blatantly in your face - street corners, massage parlours freely advertising in phone boxes, on the net, in newspapers, and yet very little is done to protect these women from trafficking. Another misconception is that victims can just escape - it's not as simple as that. As Sarah says " Not all prisons have bars and walls - some are in the mind." Victims hardly ever speak out because they're subjected to unimaginable abuse and violence, or their families are threatened. They cannot escape because they are brainwashed into believing their captors and they don't know who to trust. In Sarah's case, she was further bound to her captors after being fed drugs just to get through her living hell. An addiction she's still struggling to deal with.
Sarah's previous history with abuse may have made her more vulnerable, but it could easily happen to you, or your daughter, or your sister, or your wife. She put her trust in the wrong person. A mistake that was a tragedy for her and could've cost her life. It did cost others mentioned in the book their lives. It proves that a normal person who accidentally slips up could be in the same situation. In fact, it's going on under your nose right now. Together, we can all do something to raise awareness. This is not someone else's problem - it's everyone's problem.
I applaud Sarah for having the strength and courage to share her story, and break the common misconceptions that surround trafficking. She is one of the lucky ones who managed to escape, but she is far from healed. Everything that's happened to her is an ongoing struggle to deal with. I really hope that one day she will heal the invisible psychological wounds.
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