It's the end of the month, and time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse and the best book I read in the month of May.
Last month I featured Runaway Girl by Carissa Phelps, a memoir exploring the plight of a chronic runaway who was sexually exploited and lived to tell the tale. In a similar vein, this month I'm featuring another sex trafficking memoir, Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor by Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD.
This is an important story. I say this not because Katariina survived sex trafficking or because she earned her doctorate, but because her initiation into the horrors of this world occurred in her own backyard, on her mother's watch, and inside the suburban United States. Befriended by a "bottom" female (another female recruiting other girls into the life), Katariina narrowly escapes alive on several occasions, only to find herself firmly entrenched within the life a few years later by a different recruitment method. This memoir is not so much about how it happened, but why. Why is it that young girls are so vulnerable to the lures, the methods, and the dangers? Katariina admits that some part of her walked into the life willingly and with partially opened eyes. Aside from her own harrowing tale, she sheds invaluable insight into the contributing factors of suburban domestic violence, gang and organized crime infiltration, and a teen's burning need of acceptance by her peers.
It's hard to believe in this day and time that a well-educated teenage girl would ever consent to such things, but it's happening. And more often than you might think. Although Rosenblatt's story takes place twenty years ago, the methods and the dangers remain the same. These days, girls are trafficked inside their own high schools by boys claiming to be their boyfriends, and sometimes, sadly, even their own parents are the pimps. Writers like Katariina Rosenblatt shine a stark white light on these horrors and ask others to join with them in bringing this abomination to an end.
Girls should not be for sale.