Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Anybody's Daughter - Book Review

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Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young is probably every parents' worst nightmare. Thirteen-year-old Brianna meets a boy named Jaden on Facebook and decides to meet up with him in person. She doesn't tell anyone about this plan, partly because her mother is a worrier who doesn't want Brianna on Facebook and partly because Jaden asks Brianna to keep it a secret. Turns out, there is no Jaden, but Brianna finds this out too late and is kidnapped by two men who turn her over to a prostitution ring.

The police don't seem intent on following up on the case, so Brianna's uncle Dre, a reformed drug dealer, takes it upon himself to find Brianna and rescue her. He enlists the help of some buddies and his lawyer girlfriend Angela to uncover just how far this prostitution ring goes. Trust me: you'll never suspect who all is involved.

Angela also plays a different role in the book as a lawyer trying to help former prostitutes testify against their pimps. There's also Loretha, a former prostitute, who escaped her pimp and now runs a home for girls who want to also escape their pimps. The scenes in the courtroom and at Loretha's house are especially heart-breaking, not only because it's hard to believe what these fictional girls went through and the control that their pimps have on them even after they escape, but also because this goes on in real life.

Human trafficking isn't just something that happens in other countries. It happens here in the U.S. Statistics show that the average age an American minor enters the sex trade is 12-14. And this is a big business for the people running the operation.

But it shouldn't be.

I hope that Young's novel makes more people aware of what is going on in their own country, state, city, and neighborhood. And, as the novel's title suggests, it can happen to anybody's daughter. Or son. While this is a really engrossing novel, it should also serve as a catalyst to call people to take action against human trafficking. Young prints a great quote from Albert Einstein in the back of the book:

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

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