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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade - Victor Malarek

A more harrowing book I can hardly imagine and yet it's such an important book. How many of us truly understand the vast, interwoven complexity of the international corruption and collusion into the human trafficking trade? How many of us understand that although some women enter the sex trade willingly, thousands upon thousands (yes, that's the kind of numbers we're dealing with here), are kidnapped, repeatedly raped, beaten and murdered... in fact, many of the women who work in strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels and hotels/motels worldwide? How many of us understand the hypocrisy of ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel lining up to abuse sex slaves while denouncing these same women as subhuman, not worth defending? Or members of the high-ranking UN peacekeeping forces (Canadian, American, French, German...) in Bosnia-Herzegovina sent in to help rebuild after the war, being frequent visitors to slave-populated brothels? Or these same UN peacekeepers shutting down investigation after investigation?


Kirkus reviews says:

"Canadian broadcast journalist Malarek exposes the international traffic in sex slavery.

He begins with the graphic story of a young Ukrainian woman smuggled into Israel and sold as a prostitute. Her story, he claims, is typical of the new traffic in Eastern European women who, lured abroad with the promise of lucrative jobs, are forced into prostitution. The collapse of the Soviet Union has left the economies of its constituent republics in shambles; organized crime is in the driver’s seat, and an attractive young woman can be sold for $10,000 or more in some of the countries where the sex trade flourishes. Malarek goes on to detail the gruesome realities of the traffic in human bodies, some as young as 12. The women are held prisoner, beaten, tortured, even murdered if they fail to satisfy their customers, typically ten or more men a night. They are found in almost every nation of Europe, the Middle East, and America, though the trade flourishes especially in areas like the former Yugoslav republics, where the institutions of government are precarious and occupying armies provide a nucleus of customers. The women can look for no help from law enforcement, which is simply bribed (typically with freebies) to look the other way. The US cannot feel superior; despite its lip service to fighting the sex trade, some of the most brutal brothels are in camp towns just outside its bases all over the world, and the military authorities turn a blind eye to them. Malarek interviews people from several of the groups working to fight the traffic, third only to guns and drugs as a cash cow for organized crime. His conclusion is straightforward, if not encouraging: only a genuine effort by all parties can bring an end to sexual slavery.

A scathing indictment."


That it is, and we can't afford either to look away or refuse to help.