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Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, wh Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such "processing," and can be repeatedly "consumed." Kara first encountered the horrors of slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Subsequently, in the first journey of its kind, he traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll. Kara made several trips to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States. He witnessed firsthand the sale of human beings into slavery, interviewed over four hundred slaves, and confronted some of those who trafficked and exploited them. In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery over the past two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each industry. Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all. The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.


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Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, wh Every year, hundreds of thousands of women and children are abducted, deceived, seduced, or sold into forced prostitution, coerced to service hundreds if not thousands of men before being discarded. These trafficked sex slaves form the backbone of one of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises and generate huge profits for their exploiters, for unlike narcotics, which must be grown, harvested, refined, and packaged, sex slaves require no such "processing," and can be repeatedly "consumed." Kara first encountered the horrors of slavery in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995. Subsequently, in the first journey of its kind, he traveled across four continents to investigate these crimes and take stock of their devastating human toll. Kara made several trips to India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Moldova, Mexico, and the United States. He witnessed firsthand the sale of human beings into slavery, interviewed over four hundred slaves, and confronted some of those who trafficked and exploited them. In this book, Kara provides a riveting account of his journey into this unconscionable industry, sharing the moving stories of its victims and revealing the shocking conditions of their exploitation. He draws on his background in finance, economics, and law to provide the first ever business analysis of contemporary slavery worldwide, focusing on its most profitable and barbaric form: sex trafficking. Kara describes the local factors and global economic forces that gave rise to this and other forms of modern slavery over the past two decades and quantifies, for the first time, the size, growth, and profitability of each industry. Finally, he identifies the sectors of the sex trafficking industry that would be hardest hit by specifically designed interventions and recommends the specific legal, tactical, and policy measures that would target these vulnerable sectors and help to abolish this form of slavery, once and for all. The author will donate a portion of the proceeds of this book to the anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves.

30 review for Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    We all know that human trafficking exists. It is one of those inconvenient truths we brush under the carpet, as we go on with our mostly comfortable lives - until we read a book like this, which exposes the abject misery of millions of human beings that our so-called "free" world is built on. In eight chapters, Siddharth Kara covers the business of human trafficking, mostly for sex, in the following regions: 1. South Asia (India, Nepal and Bangladesh - spotlight on India and Nepal) 2. Western Europ We all know that human trafficking exists. It is one of those inconvenient truths we brush under the carpet, as we go on with our mostly comfortable lives - until we read a book like this, which exposes the abject misery of millions of human beings that our so-called "free" world is built on. In eight chapters, Siddharth Kara covers the business of human trafficking, mostly for sex, in the following regions: 1. South Asia (India, Nepal and Bangladesh - spotlight on India and Nepal) 2. Western Europe (spotlight on Italy) 3. The former Soviet Union (spotlight on Moldova) 4. The Balkans (spotlight on Albania) 5. Thailand and Burma 6. The United States What sets this book apart from others on the subject is the author's merciless analysis of the root cause of trafficking - economics. In the first and last chapter, he takes apart the business in purely economic terms and exposes the huge profit margin in the business - because the sex slave can be used again and again, needs no maintenance, and can be discarded once the useful life is over. There are many more where that came from. In 2015, there were approximately 1.59 million victims of sex trafficking in the world, generating annual profits for their exploiters of roughly $52 billion. These are conservative estimates that nevertheless demonstrate the broad scale of the phenomenon and the immense profits enjoyed by the exploiters. The global weighted average net profit margin of a sex-trafficking business has dropped slightly from 69.5 percent in 2006 to 67.8 percent in 2015, but it is still the most profitable illicit enterprise on the planet. While Nepali, Bangladeshi and Indian village girls being trafficked to the big cities is old hat, the travails of the former communist countries started with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the name of "economic restructuring", the IMF imposed a brutal free market regime on these hapless countries as a condition for giving them loans: the aim was not restructuring, of course, but destroying them and putting them at the mercy of the multinationals (we are seeing the next episode that drama now, where the Arab world is being bombed and flattened to "make it safe for democracy"). A population who found themselves impoverished one fine morning, had no choice other than to sell themselves. India: Breaking the spirits of slaves begins during transportation and continues once the slave is sold. More torture, rape, and humiliation await slaves as their owners do everything possible to ensure they will service clients submissively and never try to escape. In Falkland Road in Mumbai, a former sex slave turned working prostitute named Mallaika told me that sex slaves were tortured and murdered every day. She told me that minors were mercilessly abused when they first arrived and that they were given opium so they would have sex with clients. If they misbehaved, arms were broken. If they tried to escape, they might have their throats cut in front of other slaves, who were subsequently required to clean up the slaughter as a visceral lesson in the fate that awaited them should they try to escape. *** Minors are starved and beaten when they first arrive. The gharwali gives them opium so they will have sex. If they do not behave, the malik makes the radio high and beats them until they go unconscious. Just a few days back a minor came from my village and was sold by her parents for twenty thousand rupees [$444]. She refused to have sex, so the malik broke her arm. *** Nepal: When I asked the women of Sindhupalchok why the men treated them as they did, I invariably received the same two answers: “This is our culture.” “Men want women as slaves.” *** Italy: Julia was seventeen and pregnant. She had arrived in Rome from Romania at the age of fourteen. Standing next to her, Alyssia was the same age and born in the same town. They had traveled together with the help of a man who had promised work in a restaurant. Instead, they spent the last three years as street prostitutes in Rome. Their “protector” (pimp) was never far away. He kept them locked in an apartment during the day and brought them to the streets at night. If his girls did not secure twenty clients per night, he would not let them eat. Such “protection” dumbfounded me. *** Nigeria: Before this grueling journey begins, the woman must first undergo specific juju rites, in which the woman’s pubic hair, nails, and menstrual blood are collected and placed before a traditional shrine. During the ritual, the woman is made to swear an oath to repay her debt, never to report to the police, and never to discuss the nature of her trip with anyone. Failure to uphold this oath results in grave misfortune for the woman and her family. These rituals create a powerful hold over the victim, so much so that almost no Nigerian trafficking victims ever attempt to es- cape sex slavery before repaying their debts. Unlike the East European street prostitutes I saw in Rome, no protectors kept a watchful eye on the Nigerians. When Nigerian victims are rescued and asked to discuss their ordeals, some enter into trances or suffer fits. Testifying in court is out of the question. Nigerian sex slaves live in constant fear, convinced that they and their families are in imminent danger due to the juju rites. *** Albania The Albanians murder the most. When we find Albanian trafficking victims, they beg us not to arrest them because they fear death for their families. This is how the Albanians keep the women from testifying. If a victim is arrested, her family is killed. If she does not have a family, her friends are killed. If she does not have friends, her neighbors are killed. It does not matter, they find someone to kill. *** Moldova That night, Uri sold us to a German man. He raped us in the hotel with five other men. They made us have sex with many men that night. The Germans made me work like this for sixteen months. I was kept locked in a hotel room with three other girls. One client who came was a lawyer. He was named Farooq, and he offered to buy me from the German. The German sold me for four thousand euros. Farooq kept me locked with chains in a room in his home, and he forced me to have sex with men who visited. If I complained, he would cut me with a knife. I can keep on quoting. The common threads to all these horrendous stories are: crippling poverty; a society which sees vulnerable people, especially women, as perishable goods to use and throw (often sanctioned by local cultural norms); corrupt government systems (border officials, policemen and judges); traffickers and slave-owners who are finely co-ordinated; and a largely ignorant and uncaring world. To tackle this, the author suggests the following steps: 1. Make it unprofitable for the slave-owner by making the economic risk of running a racket prohibitive, by increasing fines and damages to crippling levels. Nowadays, they are so trivial as to be laughable (except in the USA). 2. Create international task-forces to tackle the problem. This will reduce the effect of apathy and corruption at local levels. 3. Make sure that the cases are fast-tracked so that justice is swift. 4. Protect the victims from social stigma. Most of them, once caught, remain in the racket because they can't reintegrate with society. Even though the suggestions are laudable, one must realise that with the current market-place world, where everything is for sale, they are difficult to implement. Kara agrees. He gives some practical suggestions as to what we ordinary mortals can do. 1. Raise awareness. (That's what I am doing now, by sharing this review. I urge all who read my review to read this book, and put up your own reviews.) 2. Provide financial support to anti-trafficking NGOs. 3. Set up community vigilance committees. 4. Write letters to national lawmakers. 5. Use the power of social media. It will be an uphill task - after all, prostitution is termed mankind's oldest profession. But if we all chip in, little by little, we can eradicate this horrendous evil.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Kara's book is a great and readable. Despite his warning in the introduction concerning the first chapter, I found the last chapter to be the most techical and number filled. Not that I didn't find it interesting, but the points Kara makes are the type you would find in a business or econmic paper, not surprising considering his background. The business angle combined with the personal journey does make for compelling reading. Mr. Kara you have no need to apolgize for you sex; you are a great man Kara's book is a great and readable. Despite his warning in the introduction concerning the first chapter, I found the last chapter to be the most techical and number filled. Not that I didn't find it interesting, but the points Kara makes are the type you would find in a business or econmic paper, not surprising considering his background. The business angle combined with the personal journey does make for compelling reading. Mr. Kara you have no need to apolgize for you sex; you are a great man. Because of the view in terms of econimc and law, this should be required reading for any president next year and Mr Kara should be put in charge of cracking down on sex trafficking, human trafficking in general, for the United States.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ani

    Like the truth, this book has a good and a bad. First, the bad. This was the worst book I have ever read. I have never felt so sickened, so appalled, so filled with rage as I was when I first read this book. I couldn't make it through 5 pages at a time of a chapter without stopping to breathe and let my blood cool. This book exposes the most disgusting, despicable aspects of the human condition. It explains the business, economics, and nittygritty of human trafficking. His next book is more focus Like the truth, this book has a good and a bad. First, the bad. This was the worst book I have ever read. I have never felt so sickened, so appalled, so filled with rage as I was when I first read this book. I couldn't make it through 5 pages at a time of a chapter without stopping to breathe and let my blood cool. This book exposes the most disgusting, despicable aspects of the human condition. It explains the business, economics, and nittygritty of human trafficking. His next book is more focused on human slavery in terms of slave labor, where this was an explanation of the global sex trade. This book made me realize that to call human beings animals is a great disgrace to the rest of the animal species, who don't exploit their young and defenseless to the rest of their species, and who don't make a profit on the exploitation of their own young. The stories he shares of former slaves will make you sick with anger and sadness. That said, this was one of the best books I have read. Siddharth Kara is honest, and his writing is based in data and research, not sensationalism, which I greatly admire. I think that he deserves great reward for the work he has done, and what use to which he has put his brilliant mind, and the risks he took to get first hand impressions of brothels in the most dangerous parts of the globe. I think everyone who can should read this book, then take it with them to lobby or effect change some other way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Excellent overview, incredibly well-researched. Kara's prose gets a bit overwrought at times, but given the subject matter he is exploring, I can forgive that. His suggestions going forward are astonishingly detailed. Excellent overview, incredibly well-researched. Kara's prose gets a bit overwrought at times, but given the subject matter he is exploring, I can forgive that. His suggestions going forward are astonishingly detailed.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    I read this book after Disposable People. I like how the author left the sexual details out- I don't need the rape of children described. He focuses more on the history and culture of a region and how this contributes to women and children being taken/sold/duped. I found this part very interesting. These historical factors also help the kidnappers/owners keep their victims because the girls don't think they have any other choice or they feel obligated to support their parents. Again, I didn't kn I read this book after Disposable People. I like how the author left the sexual details out- I don't need the rape of children described. He focuses more on the history and culture of a region and how this contributes to women and children being taken/sold/duped. I found this part very interesting. These historical factors also help the kidnappers/owners keep their victims because the girls don't think they have any other choice or they feel obligated to support their parents. Again, I didn't know this kind of slavery existed until a year or so ago and I can't quite believe it. It's so horrendous and horrible. The author actually travels to the regions and countries in the book so his research is right on. He spends time in brothels and actually puts himself in danger looking for the various places girls are hidden. He really wants to show the world what is happening, how it is for millions of women and girls- mostly young girls, sadly enough. In fact, the desire for younger and younger girls is increasing due to the spread of AIDS. Well written.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    3.5* This does not diminish the important of this book. Read it, so you can be aware. Unlike Kevin Bales "Disposable People", Kara discusses more of the "business" side of trafficking. Sure, there are survival testimonies, testimonies of the trafficked victims and etc., but it is not the central part of the story. Even though it's not the central part it often times overshadows all the technical stuff. It's powerful and this are the parts of the story I liked best because I didn't have an informa 3.5* This does not diminish the important of this book. Read it, so you can be aware. Unlike Kevin Bales "Disposable People", Kara discusses more of the "business" side of trafficking. Sure, there are survival testimonies, testimonies of the trafficked victims and etc., but it is not the central part of the story. Even though it's not the central part it often times overshadows all the technical stuff. It's powerful and this are the parts of the story I liked best because I didn't have an information overload. It was a difficult read for me because of the financial/business discussions that come with trafficking people around the world. My mind just couldn't grasp all of it not for the lack of the intelligence, but for the lack of education and understanding of both fields (if that makes sense). This does not diminish the fact that it is highly informative and I believe important to understanding the complexity of trafficking and the overall full picture.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Sex Trafficking" is a thought-provoking and heart-touching looking into modern slavery. While the author mainly focused on forced prostitution, he also covered other types of forced labor and slavery. He included many stories of slaves and ex-slaves to give a face to slavery and to demonstrate the variety of ways women are enslaved. The author also gave detailed economic breakdowns of the profitability of forced labor and explained how these economics can be changed to make slavery economically "Sex Trafficking" is a thought-provoking and heart-touching looking into modern slavery. While the author mainly focused on forced prostitution, he also covered other types of forced labor and slavery. He included many stories of slaves and ex-slaves to give a face to slavery and to demonstrate the variety of ways women are enslaved. The author also gave detailed economic breakdowns of the profitability of forced labor and explained how these economics can be changed to make slavery economically less desirable. Much of the book was written in an engaging, conversational style. The parts on economics did get a bit technical and dry, but his points were still very understandable. I don't agree with everything the author said since his view of the world is different than mine. However, the reader can easily use the information he's gathered in this book to come to their own conclusions on how to fight modern slavery. The author does suggest several practical things an individual can do to help. However, I doubt his proposed international slavery inspection force will work due to the clash of values that occurs any time many different cultures are brought together in one organization. I also found it a bit ironic that the author clearly thinks it was a bad idea for America to "force" it's style of capitalism on the rest of the world, yet he's suggesting we should essentially "force" our style of morality and justice on other countries in regards to slavery. (If you're curious, I think America has some pretty good--though not perfect--systems of doing things. However, we often forget how long it took for those things to get to their current state and what cultural foundations we had first that made them work well. I think our main problem is that we get impatient and don't fully think out cultural differences before trying to export our ideas.) This book gave insight into modern slavery. It also provided a good look into how different other cultures can be in how they treat women, view slavery, etc. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone desiring a stop to modern slavery, people interested in other cultures, and to all women (especially feminists).

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Brown

    Kara went all over the world researching sex trafficking and shares what he found in this excellent book. He begins with a nuts and bolts overview that summarizes how the business and economics of trafficking works. I've read a number of books on trafficking, and I think this is the best summary so far. I also found his suggestion of using the terms "slave trading" and "slavery" instead of the sometimes misleading "trafficking" useful. He ends with his ideas on a framework for reducing demand, a Kara went all over the world researching sex trafficking and shares what he found in this excellent book. He begins with a nuts and bolts overview that summarizes how the business and economics of trafficking works. I've read a number of books on trafficking, and I think this is the best summary so far. I also found his suggestion of using the terms "slave trading" and "slavery" instead of the sometimes misleading "trafficking" useful. He ends with his ideas on a framework for reducing demand, and he supports his suggestions in an analytical approach which isn't pie in the sky but focuses on the actual dollars and cents of the business. In fact, that's one of the things I appreciated most about this book--exposing the costs and revenues of the business. The meat of the book shares the specifics of sex trafficking in India & Nepal, Italy and Western Europe, Moldova and the former Soviet Union, Albania and the Balkans, Thiland and the Mekong subregion, and the United States. The only thing I did not find compelling is his suggestion that the IMF has impoverished the world. I'm not an IMF supporter, but it felt like a liberal rant. I wanted a more reasoned and detailed analysis. Of course, this isn't a book on economics. Still, I wasn't convinced. However, this should NOT take away from the other research he shares about what's happening with trafficking around the world. And that fact that the poor are exploited by slavers. This is an EXCELLENT book. If you want to learn about sex trafficking, I'd start here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Griswold

    There are numerous books on human trafficking, that discuss the brutal and inhumane nature of the phenomenon, but I've never seen a book quite like Siddharth Kara's Sex Trafficking : Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. It does exactly what its' title suggest by taking the reader inside the dirty business of the flesh trade. By discussing the routes, methods of recruitment and rationale for human trafficking, the reader goes inside the trade. This is not remarkable, what sets this book apart i There are numerous books on human trafficking, that discuss the brutal and inhumane nature of the phenomenon, but I've never seen a book quite like Siddharth Kara's Sex Trafficking : Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. It does exactly what its' title suggest by taking the reader inside the dirty business of the flesh trade. By discussing the routes, methods of recruitment and rationale for human trafficking, the reader goes inside the trade. This is not remarkable, what sets this book apart is the detailed business/economic analysis provided in the back of the book that seeks to pinpoint the cost of slave, how much money can be made from a slave in the sex industry for the pimps and traffickers, and even how much it would cost to free a slave and drive down the demand for sexual services through basic models of cost analysis. Kara's business-economic approach to the human trafficking business mixed with the human compassion present in the works of Bales, Skinner, and Malarek, provide a needed a welcome voice to the human trafficking issue.

  10. 4 out of 5

    B.J. Richardson

    Perhaps I have read too many books like this recently for the brutal impact of what he talks of to really hit home. I hate giving a readable book on such an important topic such a low score but there are far better books on this tragic subject than this book. I would recommend David Batstone's Not For Sale or Kevin Bale's Disposable People. Even Lydia Cacho's Slavery Inc does a better job of focusing on the socio-economic factors of the sex slave trade. I think Kara's fault lies in three directi Perhaps I have read too many books like this recently for the brutal impact of what he talks of to really hit home. I hate giving a readable book on such an important topic such a low score but there are far better books on this tragic subject than this book. I would recommend David Batstone's Not For Sale or Kevin Bale's Disposable People. Even Lydia Cacho's Slavery Inc does a better job of focusing on the socio-economic factors of the sex slave trade. I think Kara's fault lies in three directions, in looking at the actual sale and life of sex slaves he gives too much information. More than once I found myself thinking some sick pervert could almost read this as a how to manual. The second fault is that he places himself too deeply into the story at points. I don't really care that you spent an entire night in your car staking out one bridge. You didn't get any solid information, it isn't relevant to the book, so why are you even bothering to tell us about it? Finally, his proposed solutions are both simplistic and utopian. He does throw around some numbers for offsetting the economic business of trafficking and owning sex slaves, but the implementation of an international task force as he outlines it is little more than wishful thinking. So skip this book. This is a very important issue that I wish more people were informed on and actively fighting for but this book is not the place to begin such an important task.

  11. 4 out of 5

    James Perkins

    Anyone with even a shred of respect for human dignity should read this book. Slavery, illegal in every country in the world, also exists in every country in the world, and one of its most insidious forms is women trafficked for prostitution. The stories presented here do not make happy reading, but this is the reality for over a million girls and women on our planet today. One of the best parts of this book is its explanation about how trafficking continues; instead of appealing to the heart alo Anyone with even a shred of respect for human dignity should read this book. Slavery, illegal in every country in the world, also exists in every country in the world, and one of its most insidious forms is women trafficked for prostitution. The stories presented here do not make happy reading, but this is the reality for over a million girls and women on our planet today. One of the best parts of this book is its explanation about how trafficking continues; instead of appealing to the heart alone, as most books of this ilk do, it also uses an economic model of supply and demand and resultant reward. Simply put, if it wasn't so profitable, it wouldn't be nearly so widespread. Kara also clearly demonsrates how the rise of globalisation, especially the actions of the IMF, which have resulted in sustained poverty for most of the developing world as governments struggle to pay off their artificially imposed debts, has created a perfect environment in which people trafficking can thrive, feeding off economic desperation. The only intellectual downside to this book is the naïvely optimistic solution suggested in the last chapter, for which I've deducted one star - it assumes virtually unlimited funds for the setup of an independent NGO, a vast incorruptible army of helpers willing to work against trafficking, and completely ignores the incredibly strong role of culture in stifling the basic rights of women in the societies in which trafficking is most pervasive. He does acknowledge the effects of patriarchal culture earlier in the book, but in his enthusiasm to stick with the mathematics of economic models, forgets it at the end. Nevertheless, it's still worth reading: if enough people are aware of and disturbed by the problem, maybe somebody somewhere will come up with a workable solution.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Lennon

    There are good books and then there are important books--this one is both. As a society, we may be aware of sex trafficking and slavery today, but we generally don't understand it as a business. It is, for most of us, morally reprehensible, but once the business mechanics of it are understood, it becomes chilling. Bodies, mostly young women and children, as products to be shipped and consumed. What's extraordinary about this book is that it is both treatise and chronicle. The first chapter presen There are good books and then there are important books--this one is both. As a society, we may be aware of sex trafficking and slavery today, but we generally don't understand it as a business. It is, for most of us, morally reprehensible, but once the business mechanics of it are understood, it becomes chilling. Bodies, mostly young women and children, as products to be shipped and consumed. What's extraordinary about this book is that it is both treatise and chronicle. The first chapter presents the case--defining sex trafficking, portraying the victims, revealing the cultural and economic causes, exposing the roles of governments, and advocating for change. Kara's commitment to presenting the facts and proposing advocacy in hard and fast terms is exceptional. Once past the first chapter, he takes us through the methods, victimization, cultures, and histories of those countries that are the center of the sex trafficking business, like India, Nepal, Italy, Western Europe, and even the U.S. The depth and breadth of this scourge, its almost inescapable cycles, and the struggles of shelters to save a few compels the reader to, at least, want to see action. Governments have a chance to make big change but so do individuals. To some this book may seem plodding until you realize that we are getting a unique portrait of the history, struggles, and decades of poverty and often hopelessness of people all over the world. It is a significant wake up call.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Bringman

    Phenomenal. Comprehensible and well researched. Thoroughly enjoyed it albeit reading about the torturous stories of the numerous victims involved in the sex trafficking industry. Major contributing factors the author endorses are that globalization is a major force in the expansion of sex trafficking, that the IMF implemented economic policies that exploited natural resources in underdeveloped/developing countries, and that poverty is the primary reason for exploitation whether it be in sex traf Phenomenal. Comprehensible and well researched. Thoroughly enjoyed it albeit reading about the torturous stories of the numerous victims involved in the sex trafficking industry. Major contributing factors the author endorses are that globalization is a major force in the expansion of sex trafficking, that the IMF implemented economic policies that exploited natural resources in underdeveloped/developing countries, and that poverty is the primary reason for exploitation whether it be in sex trafficking or any type of employment where those with take advantage of and exploit those without. Recommended reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim Anderson

    This is a great book and worth reading. It is disturbing, but probably not possible to write about this w/o being disturbing. There are a few parts in the first and last chapter when he writes about the causes and cures that I'm not sure I agree with, but he does a great job shedding light on the topic. This is a great book and worth reading. It is disturbing, but probably not possible to write about this w/o being disturbing. There are a few parts in the first and last chapter when he writes about the causes and cures that I'm not sure I agree with, but he does a great job shedding light on the topic.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sbj

    This book was incredibly interesting and insightful. Working with Asylum Seekers this book made me think about those individuals that have taken a journey that could not possibly be comprehended by the average person . Very well written and I have recommended it to my colleagues, but not for a bed time read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Priya

    A very well researched piece. It was quite heart rending to read through various experiences and it is hard to believe that they are a part of our reality, the world we live in. This book raises a lot of awareness and completely changes the way one would look at issues of slavery and prostitution.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alisa

    an amazing and horrifying look into not just the traumatic results of sex trafficking but also an enlightening economic break down of the business of sex trafficking with visceral real world examples of how the problem could and in many cases should be dealt with

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hillary White

    At this moment I only have access to my phone and can't type a proper review but honestly this book was probably one of the best I have read on this awful modern day slavery. Kara is a wonderful author with a big heart. Speechless is the best word to describe my feelings after finishing it. At this moment I only have access to my phone and can't type a proper review but honestly this book was probably one of the best I have read on this awful modern day slavery. Kara is a wonderful author with a big heart. Speechless is the best word to describe my feelings after finishing it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bas

    People do some horrible things. The stories are interesting, but (understandably) much of the economics relies on insufficient information. Nevertheless, it's worth reading. Side note, be careful about buying fish from Thailand. People do some horrible things. The stories are interesting, but (understandably) much of the economics relies on insufficient information. Nevertheless, it's worth reading. Side note, be careful about buying fish from Thailand.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Why are issues like these not more known to the general public?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Fox

    This book is disturbing to read, as you can imagine. Reading in full detail the experiences of sex slaves throughout the world was traumatic and really made me furious. Like most readers, it made me want to do something about the horrific crimes against humanity described in the book. The ending chapter provides a list of recommendations and names of NGOs but the factors that promote sex trafficking are difficult to affect. Author Siddharth Kara presents an impressive array of statistics, anecdot This book is disturbing to read, as you can imagine. Reading in full detail the experiences of sex slaves throughout the world was traumatic and really made me furious. Like most readers, it made me want to do something about the horrific crimes against humanity described in the book. The ending chapter provides a list of recommendations and names of NGOs but the factors that promote sex trafficking are difficult to affect. Author Siddharth Kara presents an impressive array of statistics, anecdotal work, and gives a fairly vivid picture of the sex slave trade in various regions of the world. In some areas he admits it was extremely difficult to get anyone to talk on record, let alone find any substantive evidence with which to present in the book. Since he isn't a law enforcement officer or government official, it is understandable that the dark criminal underground that engages in this activity is careful to keep people like him away from their horrible business. In one or two instances, Kara supports some of his conclusions on shaky data. When I read a couple of the notes in the back, I was disappointed to find some of the most dramatic trafficking numbers are rough estimates on his part. Social scientists would take issue with this since Kara does not very explicitly state in the text that the numbers are his estimates. Of course, this isn't a scholarly journal article; it is a book meant for much wider consumption beyond the academic community. In that regard, Kara succeeds in reaching the broader audience. Some readers will find it dry, boring, and a bit repetitive at times but I think it was probably better that it was approached in a more detached, objective manner. Otherwise it would've been so soul crushing and traumatizing it would be unreadable. Having said that, there are sections that are so graphic, it may make you stop. One thing was inescapable: the practice of sex trafficking and slavery exists because of indifference, even disdain toward women. Where it is most prevalent, the societies view women as less than human. It isn't just the slavers and traffickers, it is also police, officials, neighbors, community leaders, even the victims' own families that just don't seem all that horrified at what is happening to their girls. Police and local officials take bribes, to ignore the forced prostitution, rape and abuse taking place. With such a lack of regard for women, there is little will to protect them and therefore no deterrence to engaging in the awful business. This, by far, is the most compelling factor, with extreme poverty being the second most important factor. Women and young girls are more susceptible to deceit and kidnap when their families are desperate. They'll answer an ad and get in a van with strangers to drive hundreds of miles for the promise of work. However, Kara makes one argument that doesn't make much sense. Here is the quote: "Historic factors in each of these geographic regions helped promote sex slavery, namely: extreme poverty, severe gender bias, and acute minority disenfranchisement. Globalization-related crises exacerbates these factors, leaving tens of millions of individuals vulnerable to exploitation, particularly women and children." Factors one and two are by far the biggest, yet Kara goes on, right after this sentence to rant about globalization, capitalism, multinational corporations, and other issues that really don't seem relevant. He makes the astonishing claim that Western governments, beholden to multinational corporations, do not act to stop sex trafficking because it might interfere with their economic policies. This claim was a total head-scratcher as he explicitly states in the book that Western governments have the strictest and most energetically enforced anti-trafficking laws in the world. The rest is just conspiracy theory that should've been omitted. Then the kicker: "The United States is more responsible than any other nation for the inimical accretion in human exploitation, trafficking, and slavery since the fall of the Berlin Wall." An amazing claim that Kara does not support with a single shred of evidence. To the contrary, Kara presents evidence that sex trafficking and slavery is severely punished in the US, that new laws have strengthened enforcement, and that sex slavery is extremely rare in North America. Given the US has no jurisdiction beyond its own borders, it is an extreme non-intuitive leap to claim it is responsible for sex trafficking in other countries. How is the US responsible? Kara blames the US for forcing damaging economic and trade policies on Eastern Europe and Asia in the 1990s, which he claims have fueled sex trafficking and slavery. Even if we accept the premise that the US "forced" other countries into bad policies, he fails to establish any connection between that and the rise of sex trafficking. First, I struggled to find where he offered up evidence that sex trafficking exploded in the 1990s and 2000s in comparison to trafficking prior to that, especially in the Eastern European countries. There is no cited evidence of a spike in kidnapping, rape, or false imprisonment of women. For all we know, these horrible crimes were taking place at high frequency before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Second, he fails to establish a causal connection between globalization or capitalism and sex trafficking. Some of the countries with the largest prevalence of sexual slavery and trafficking have not adopted western-style free trade policies that Kara finds so repugnant. These countries are largely non-liberal or semi-socialist countries like India, China, Nepal and Thailand. In addition, many of the countries that adopted these awful policies have seen dramatic drops in poverty and are now much more stable then they were after the Soviet Collapse. He fails to explain counterexamples such as the suspicious lack of sex trafficking in Africa, a continent with plenty of extreme poverty and inequality. If forced liberalization of closed economies exacerbate sexual slavery, why don't poor countries in Latin America and Africa have similar problems? Based on the facts presented it seems the first two factors: extreme gender bias and extreme poverty, have a lot more to do with it. In countries where women are still viewed as property, they are far more likely to be forced into sexual slavery. It is also more likely the society will do little to help them, as Kara points out. Kara makes a number of very informative and thoughtful suggestions on mitigating and eliminating these factors. To ensure rape, trafficking, and slavery laws are actually enforced, political pressure must be brought to bear, which probably means the inherent gender inequality in their culture must change. For most countries, the laws are already on the books but there isn't much interest in enforcing them. Until the underlying cultural attitudes change, new laws won't do much. My objections to his globalization argument aside, this book was worth reading even if it possesses some dark, disgusting truths about humanity in the 21st century.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Jarrett

    If you are looking for the very best primer on sex trafficking, Kara has produced it. It is devastating, which is why it took me so long to finish. My challenge was in taking in and acknowledging the status of sex trafficking in the world, the second largest criminal activity, surpassed only by armaments and guns. The two industries often operate in tandem. The leading countries (in 2017) were India, Nepal, Italy, China, and western Europe, the former Soviet Union countries, and Thailand. The ca If you are looking for the very best primer on sex trafficking, Kara has produced it. It is devastating, which is why it took me so long to finish. My challenge was in taking in and acknowledging the status of sex trafficking in the world, the second largest criminal activity, surpassed only by armaments and guns. The two industries often operate in tandem. The leading countries (in 2017) were India, Nepal, Italy, China, and western Europe, the former Soviet Union countries, and Thailand. The cause of sex trafficking is multi fold. Sex slaves are money makers. Women and children often have no value, except economic. Interestingly, while a big concern, the US is lower on the list. Sex slaves must be flown in, which is expensive to the owners, or shipped as cargo, or brought over the border from Mexico. (I wonder how ex slaves fare at the wall.) Sex slavery in the US is not economically prudent and falls to recruiting local slaves. Uplifting is the fact that US police forces are less criminalized than other countries. However, it is still a thriving industry. Kara does a most impressive job with personal research, economic statistics and studies, and personal stories of the sex slaves. Generally, the sex slaves were promised a much better life and money for their very poor families. They were told they would be successful in Hollywood as models and actors. They would work in high paying restaurants and be educated. Instead, they were raped over and over, beaten, and serviced 20-30 men a day. Seven days a week. The youngest reported by Kara was four years old - most others in their teens. The book was made into a movie - Trafficked. The story, the reality of sex trafficking is beyond tragic. Attack the industry as well as expose the buyers of children and women. Is that actually a possibility...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carter

    Siddharth Kara presents a journalistic perspective of international human trafficking. Although the title specifically identifies sex trafficking, he also addresses labor trafficking. In true journalism fashion, some parts of the text are sensationalized. Though one could argue that serves to connect the reader more deeply with human trafficking victimization and generate support for reform. I initially read this text in the process of developing a training on trafficking for mental health profe Siddharth Kara presents a journalistic perspective of international human trafficking. Although the title specifically identifies sex trafficking, he also addresses labor trafficking. In true journalism fashion, some parts of the text are sensationalized. Though one could argue that serves to connect the reader more deeply with human trafficking victimization and generate support for reform. I initially read this text in the process of developing a training on trafficking for mental health professionals. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how accurate some of the statistics and information are and I know some of the information was incorrect (i.e. there is only one specialized shelter in the US for trafficking victims-wrong). This may be partly because this book is now a decade old and it could benefit from a second edition with updated information. Much of the data presented in the text was also calculated and estimated by the author, some of which is based on generalized sources with questionable reliability (i.e. word of mouth, outdated stats). In regard to applicable content, I will primarily use this text to explore trafficking in the context of cultural norms and beliefs. Siddharth does a great job exploring the aspects of culture in different regions that contributed to the development and perpetuation of trafficking. If the data/hard numbers were more reliable and up-to-date I could see giving this book a higher rating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Introvertigo

    This was rough... I’m reviewing more my experience rather than the book itself. I get into some deep, dark content while reading. I don’t usually shy away from heavy topics. But I couldn’t finish this one. I’m not sure what I expected... but I just kept feeling so helpless. I’ve read narrative stories featuring heavy sexual abuse, and trafficking themes- even nonfiction accounts. But the vast amount of victims in this one just overwhelmed me. The countless stories and statistics and numbers were This was rough... I’m reviewing more my experience rather than the book itself. I get into some deep, dark content while reading. I don’t usually shy away from heavy topics. But I couldn’t finish this one. I’m not sure what I expected... but I just kept feeling so helpless. I’ve read narrative stories featuring heavy sexual abuse, and trafficking themes- even nonfiction accounts. But the vast amount of victims in this one just overwhelmed me. The countless stories and statistics and numbers were mind numbing, and I felt so utterly useless in fighting the system. I’ve had that hopeless feeling in only one other read, and it was, The Road; they’re very different in style and content, but both left me with a, “is life really worth living,” vibe that took me a while to shake. It’s not that I was unaware of the issues... I travel a lot and am well informed on trafficking... but I couldn’t finish this one. I like to pretend that deep down we’re all inherently good, and this book gave out too many statistics that fought that perception; ultimately the cognitive dissonance was just too much for me. Best of luck to anyone who attempts the read, thank you to the author for telling these stories, and a heartfelt thank you to everyone making small efforts, working on policies, and people in positions of political power fighting this sickening evil.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Popp

    I have read a lot of books about sex trafficking and have worked with juvenile sex trafficking victims for almost a decade. Usually I go into these type of books with the understanding that I will not gain a whole lot of new information. That was not the case with this book. Kara does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand international trafficking. His chapter on the U.S. also dealt with international victims, whereas I work with domestic victims. The author not only succinctly exp I have read a lot of books about sex trafficking and have worked with juvenile sex trafficking victims for almost a decade. Usually I go into these type of books with the understanding that I will not gain a whole lot of new information. That was not the case with this book. Kara does an excellent job of helping the reader to understand international trafficking. His chapter on the U.S. also dealt with international victims, whereas I work with domestic victims. The author not only succinctly explains the business and profitability of trafficking and why it is so prevalent in some countries, but offers many insightful ideas on how to combat the slavery of others. This book is not a graphic account of what happens to the victims behind closed doors...there are plenty of other books if that's what you are looking for. This book explains the processes that are involved in enslaving another human being and why this practice is not being stopped by others. I learned so much from this book and wish that some of the author's ideas could come to fruition in the most heavily impacted countries.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    This researcher actually went all over the world and collected data on the industry of sexual slavery and trafficking. It was eye-opening to know that this exists all over the world, why it exists, and what can be done to eradicate it. The key is stopping the industry from being so profitable, especially when so many women from poorer areas of the world are especially vulnerable. His reporting of the issues was very clear; however, I don’t recall his policy prescriptions being particularly effec This researcher actually went all over the world and collected data on the industry of sexual slavery and trafficking. It was eye-opening to know that this exists all over the world, why it exists, and what can be done to eradicate it. The key is stopping the industry from being so profitable, especially when so many women from poorer areas of the world are especially vulnerable. His reporting of the issues was very clear; however, I don’t recall his policy prescriptions being particularly effective in terms of actually addressing the problem. Still, it was a great read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This book really touched on the inside of sex trafficking. It had short clips of the lives of the people who are trapped there. It gave a view of where it was happening. Kara really tells the story of the survivors of this trade with respect and with grace. The book was a very easy read and it really told the story of the lives that these women are forced to live. I liked how it broke it up into section and told how the trade was different in different parts of the country. It was a great book!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Hudak

    Everyone should read this book. As the book states, there are more penalties against drug trafficking than sex trafficking. The book states that just one person can help out by reading this book to promote awareness. This is modern day slavery and it is happening all over the world- including the US. Women and children are beaten, drugged, and scared into becoming slaves and sex slaves. This book is a “must read” to help us learn about and to care about humanity- not just “fluff”!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Solana

    This book is extremely well-researched and extremely important. The author organizes the book by regions of trafficking and then provides solutions. Because there are similarities in the different regions, some of the book becomes redundant. However, he ties stories in well with fact and evokes emotions while giving a very factual representation of his travels. Can't say it was fun to read, but it made me interested in learning more about other forms of human trafficking, so that's a good sign! This book is extremely well-researched and extremely important. The author organizes the book by regions of trafficking and then provides solutions. Because there are similarities in the different regions, some of the book becomes redundant. However, he ties stories in well with fact and evokes emotions while giving a very factual representation of his travels. Can't say it was fun to read, but it made me interested in learning more about other forms of human trafficking, so that's a good sign!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angela E

    Unbelievably sad. Kara gives a raw and unfiltered look into several regions in the sex trafficking industry. I only wish he could have expanded on all regions, but because he actually traveled to each region he writes about, this would have been quite the feat. Breaking down the issue of sex trafficking into regional differences is a helpful way to identify what factors promote the industry and how to strategize a plan to combat it. A harsh call to attention the dark realities of this world.

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