Besides the Issue?
Guest Post by Kim Purcell
I like to think of Trafficked as a page-turner that helps people escape their problems for a while, and I believe this is one of the gifts of any good book, but I also hope that it, like other issue books, gives readers something to think about when it's done. A good issue book teaches us not only about the issue, but also about human nature, revealing our own weaknesses and strengths as people.
I wrote Trafficked because I was shocked that people were kept as slaves in regular homes in many developed countries, especially in this day and age. I figured that modern-day slavery happened in developing countries, but certainly not right where I live, in my own neighborhood. Since the book has come out, many readers have told me they had no idea this happened in America. So, on a basic level, issue books do teach us about the issue, but there is so much more beneath any issue.
In many cases, what is beneath the issue is fear, which is something we all experience. When I did more research into human trafficking, I learned that in most cases, these girls and women had chances to escape and they chose not to because they were too afraid of what might happen. This fascinated me because I realized then that they weren’t any different from any of us who want to do something, but we don’t, out of fear. I hope readers see themselves in the main character, Hannah, as I saw myself. We all have fears to overcome. As a writer, I had so many fears about rejection and failure to overcome. I think when you see a rawness of emotion in a character, in this case, fear, you can’t help but look at your own life and think, I’m afraid too.
Issue books aren’t about weak victims, so different from ourselves, but rather they are illuminating the human experience and exploring issues that touch everyone, whether we know it or not. When people read Trafficked, I hope they see that modern-day slaves aren’t so different from themselves. I hope they read it and think, this could happen to someone like me and it could happen to someone I know. This book is about a foreigner who comes to America with a dream. Don’t we all have dreams? What do we do when it looks like those dreams won’t happen for us? Do we push harder or do we give up?
Sometimes we separate ourselves from an issue, saying I don’t know anyone who does that. Really? How can any of us be sure that a particular issue doesn’t affect us? Estimates are that around 16 thousand foreigners are trafficked into America each year, and 100 000 American kids are trafficked within America every year. If we separate ourselves from people in any terrible situation, it keeps us from seeing what’s happening just down the street, or maybe in our own house. This is true whether we read a book about trafficking, or about suicide, cutting, depression and bullying. We are all affected in some way.
When we create awareness about issues through fiction, we de-stigmatize all issues and provide a dialogue for people, a forum for people to come forward about any problem. We take away the shame and we create the impetus for change.
I hope when people read Trafficked, they will be motivated to do something about this terrible problem: maybe push for stricter laws, start fundraisers for victims, or simply pass the book on to create more awareness. If nothing else, I hope that after reading this book, people will be kinder to those they meet who don’t speak English perfectly. Maybe they will expand their awareness and notice people who are in trouble. Most of all, I hope that some girl somewhere will read this book and when a trafficker approaches her with his empty promises, she’ll walk away.
by Kim Purcell
A 17-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles.
Hannah believes she’s being brought from Moldova to Los Angeles to become a nanny for a Russian family. But her American dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. The Platonovs force Hannah to work sixteen-hour days, won’t let her leave the house, and seem to have a lot of secrets—from Hannah and from each other.
Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah must find a way to save herself from her new status as a modern-day slave or risk losing the one thing she has left: her life.
About the author:
Kim Purcell is a journalist, teacher and novelist. When she’s not writing or teaching writing workshops, she loves doing yoga, going for long runs with her dog, playing board games with family, and dancing in empty elevators to cheesy elevator music.
Find out more at KimPurcell.com and on Twitter. Check out Trafficked on Goodreads.
1 winner will receive a signed copy of Trafficked.
Open to the US and Canada. Giveaway is open until midnight March 17, 2013. Must be 13 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen using Random.org. Winner will be emailed and must respond within 3 days or a new winner will be selected.
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