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Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day…
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Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave

by Shyima Hall

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Too many people think that slavery is nonexistent in contemporary times, but that is far from the truth. Shyima Hall is beyond courageous to unveil the atrocities that happened to her internationally and in the United States.

This would be a great book to feature in the library alongside Sold and other text that discusses the current situation with modern slavery. This would also be a great book to teach in a journalism class to spark young reporters to write stories of other little know tales of contemporary slavery and what social services and law enforcement is doing to combat this problem.
  MagLuCliff | Apr 15, 2016 |
I remember reading about Shyima Hall in the news: a girl kept as a family slave, literally right under everyone’s nose. It’s one thing to hear about such things happening. It’s quite another to have it so close to home. (She was in Irvine in Orange County. I was living in Tustin, an adjacent city, during the time.) Some years later, when I heard about her memoir, Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave (Simon & Schuster, 2014), I was eager to have a chance to read her side of the story.

The book begins with Shyima’s younger years in Egypt, her family plagued with financial difficulties. While the author doesn’t excuse her parents handing her over to work for another family, the book does show the reader why they probably felt they had no other choice. Kept as a slave, eight-year-old Shyima tolerated substandard living arrangements, received no education, and had no time for herself. It was work day and night. She kept track of time passed by the birthdays of her owners’ children.

When her owners decided to move to the United States, they went to a lot of trouble to make sure Shyima joined them. Shyima’s life of slavery continued over here, until someone dropped an anonymous tip about the suspicious girl to the police. Now free, Shyima’s struggles didn’t end. She faced court trials, foster family drama, and the struggle of trying to find her place in a very different culture. But in the end, you can see that she’s happy and optimistic about life and eager to educate the American public about the modern-day slave trafficking problem.

Hidden Girl is a great book, taking its reader through a whole range of emotions. Cowriter Lisa Wysocky did an excellent job keeping a very foreign and little girlish voice to the narrative. And it was encouraging for me to learn that the Orangewood Children’s Home (with which my old church had been involved) played a positive role in helping her. The book is good evidence that – even though there’s a lot of social and economic issues abroad – there are real problems here at home that need our attention too. ( )
  AnnetteOC | Jan 28, 2016 |
Shyima Hall was eight years old when her parents sold her into slavery. Before this, she lived with them and her ten siblings in poverty in a small town near Alexandria, Egypt. She worked 18 to 20 hours a day for her captors, receiving no compensation, medical care or schooling. When her owners moved to the United States, Shyima was illegally transported to California, where she lived in a garage and was forbidden to have outside contacts. This memoir follows her experiences from her early childhood and captivity to her life after she was rescued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. An engrossing, moving memoir of modern domestic slavery that fortunately ends on a hopeful note. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
At eight years old, most kids are playing outside, riding bikes, playing with friends, not a care in the world. When she was eight, Shyima Hall was sold into slavery by her parents. Shyima was one of eleven kids from an impoverished Egyptian family; her older sister had been working for a wealthy family but had been discovered stealing and was dismissed. To repay the debt and bring honor back to the family, Shyima's parents sold her to the family. Shyima was not a paid servant; she was a slave. Called only "stupid girl" and forced to work for up to 18 hours a day, Shyima could not believe her parents wanted her to live this way. When her captor family moved to the US in 2000, they trafficked Shyima with them. And life was worse when they got to the US. The family had to get rid of all of the other servants, so Shyima had an extra burden to do all of the other work those servants had completed. She had to live in a closet in the garage without heat or a bathroom. She was beaten and berated every day. She was not allowed to go to school. Then one day the police came and rescued her. She was put into foster care and went to several homes before finding one that was a reasonable home for her. She was able to go to school and finally learn to read and write at the age of 14. This book is eye-opening. Human trafficking is a big problem, but it seems to get swept under the rug. While Shyima had a happy ending to her captivity, many modern slaves don't. I can't imagine being in this kind of situation, being forced to work without food or medical care, and not being able to go to school or learning to read and write until I was 14. Slavery still exists, and this book brings some of those details to light. ( )
  litgirl29 | Jul 19, 2014 |
Eight year old Shyima is sold into slavery in Egypt, and transported to California by her ‘owners’ who isolate her using verbal abuse, deprivation, and by insuring she never learns English. Eventually rescued in 2002, she survives the trial, readjusts to life as a free person and embarks on a mission to help others. Not really well written, infuriating, frustrating, but also very interesting, and important. ( )
  HelenGress | May 8, 2014 |
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The author, Shyima Hall was eight when her parents sold her into slavery. In Egypt's capitol city of Cairo, she lived with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyimas' servitude-- but her journey to true freedom was far from over. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances.… (more)

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