“Trafficked” by Kim Purcell

Rated 5 stars ***** Viking (Penguin Group,) 2012. 384 pp. (Includes Author’s Note)

After 17-year-old Hannah’s parents were killed in a bomb blast in her native country of Moldova, and her uncle mysteriously disappeared, she and her grandmother tried to make a living. When their funds ran out, Hannah made the difficult choice of illegally coming to the United States to work as a nanny for a Russian family. Promised $400 a week, she planned to send money home, study English and become a doctor.

Before she had even left Moldova, Hannah had her passport taken, suffered abuse at the hands of a seedy agent, and was given fake documents to enter the United States. Lillian, her boss, forced Hannah to give up her plane ticket, work long hours without pay, and never allowed her to leave the house, all while physically and emotionally abusing her. Cowed into silence with threats of arrest for being illegal and retaliation against her family, Hannah felt trapped and helpless.

After an especially brutal beating by Lillian, and with the threat of prostitution hanging over her head, Hannah’s life spiraled out of control into ways she’d never imagined.

Trafficked” educates readers of the desperate choices made by many immigrants to come to the United States, and the seamy underbelly of those wishing to make a profit from their misery. The author’s note gives readers background information about her reasons for writing the book, and offers resources for helping to combat the ever increasing problem of modern day slavery. Students in grades 9-12 will gain a wealth of insight into this issue.

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