In my last post I listed my favorite fiction books of 2011. There was one other book that impacted me in such a way that, even though I focus on fiction, I have to highlight it for people.
Girls Like Us - by Rachel Lloyd.
It is the memoir of a young woman who had a rough upbringing, ended up being trapped in the world of sexual exploitation by a boyfriend who was also her john, and managed not only to escape the life but start a non-profit organization called GEMS that helps girls in similar situations.
It is a raw book because it is a raw topic. Rachel's story, and the examples of the girls from her charity, are real and ugly. They are stories that need telling.
I was interested in supporting the fight against human trafficking before - this book sealed it. It is a powerful read, sometimes unsettling, but never boring. There is much in our culture that lends to the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls. Pornography, the idolization of pimp culture in popular music, the ways that families and social services break down and leave children vulnerable.
I talked about the book in detail here. If you didn't read it before, I hope you check out the post, but most of all the book. It is a wake-up call, and it is a significant marker in the battle against modern-day slavery.