Children are vulnerable and need our care and protection. As such, there are few crimes more heinous than the victimization and abuse of children who are trafficked. Alisa Jordheim has written a harrowing exposé on the Childhood sex industry. She explores the issues around victimization, what makes certain children vulnerable (i.e. past sexual abuse, parents in prostitution, addiction issues) and the ways young people are lured into the industry (‘loverboy syndrome,’ familial trafficking, survival sex, gang initiation and kidnapping) and kept there. It is ugly.
Made in the USA: The Sex Trafficking of American’s Children doesn’t just describe the problem, Jordhem has enlisted a team of writers who tell the story of victims. Lindsey Nunn, K.D. Roche, Luke Robert Miller, Stephanie Patterson and Philipa Booyens relay, in first person narratives the story of the victims. Each chapter closes with the victim reflecting, in their own words, on their experience. If there is a ‘silver lining’ to these accounts, it is that each of the victims has escaped or lived through their exploitation and has begun the process of healing.
But this a heart-rending book. In it we meet Tiana, a young lady so abused and used by her pimp that she remains loyal to him even after years of abuse; Kate, a nine-year old girl forced into pornography and prostitution by her uncle; Rich a homeless teen struggling with his sexuality and addiction who falls into prostitution; Karen, a preteen groomed for the sex trade by a childhood friend; and Deidre, a developmentally delayed youth who is abducted and sexually assaulted.
Some of the details of each of their stories are so horrific they are difficult to believe. How can someone be so evil that they willfully and systematically destroy the life of a child?! But of course these are not isolated tales and prostitution rings and pornographers routinely prey on the innocent. Jordheim exposes this evil, to raise awareness and to move us into action. I give this book five stars.
Notice of material connection: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.