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In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in…
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In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop…

by Nita Belles

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Heartbreaking. It's astounding how little I knew even though I've (briefly) investigating these topics before.

One complaint is the author's "gateway" arguments. Reminiscent of the false-equivalency arguments that weed is a gateway drug to heroin, meth, etc, the author portrays any use of pornography as a gateway to sex slavery and human trafficking.

Another complaint is how much of the book is filtered through the author's strong christian perspectives. Too much reliance on religion in the narrative.

Finally, the author praises human trafficking victims who have forgiven their captives to the extreme that she practically shames those who do not or cannot forgive - all the more interesting considering how much time the author spent discussing Stockholm syndrome; maybe their forgiveness is just Stockholm syndrome? ( )
  benuathanasia | Jun 23, 2017 |
We say, "Not in our backyard" to indicate our strong opposition to something: a property development in our neighborhood, unacceptable behaviors, a factory spewing out toxic pollution. Unfortunately there are some pretty heinous things in our backyard already, none as horrifying as human trafficking.

Nina Belles is an anti-trafficking activist, managing director of In Our Backyard and the regional director of Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans. In Our Backyard gives a comprehensive overview of the horrors of human trafficking. Belles doesn't focus on just one type of trafficking. She profiles victims who are forced into prostitution (often under-aged), immigrants who are taken advantage of, factory and farm-workers, domestic help and restaurant staff. She explores how the pornography industry is used to groom and recruit victims into the sex trade. She talks about the stockholm syndrome and the reasons why victims stay with their victimizers. Belles also discusses her own work in advocacy and ways that we can get involved.

I found this book helpful on a number of levels. I have had limited experience ministering to people who had been trafficked and have friends who are active in working with sexually trafficked women. Belles shines a light on some dark places. I need books like this to keep me aware of ways people I have seen may be being exploited. Some of these women and men were not helped because the people who would help, simply didn't notice. Belles helps us take notice because she points to where this is happening. Everyday. In our backyard.
I also appreciate this book for the hopeful chord it struck. This is a story-rich book and many of the stories that Belles shares here are from victims who have escaped their slavery. While there is much work to be done, and all of us need to be aware of the ways people are being exploited, it is good to know that for some, the system works and people are set free. Because of the hopeful note, it is not heavy reading, even though the topic is heavy.

This book appears to be a updated edition of a 2011 version of the book (though the Baker Edition makes no mention of it on its copyright page). Most of the stories and events happen before 2011, but statistical data, and descriptions of online trafficking has been updated.

I give this book five stars.

Note: I received the book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review
( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801018579, Paperback)

In recent years, Americans have woken up to the reality that human trafficking is not just something that happens in other countries. But what most still do not understand is that neither is it something that just happens to "other people" such as runaways or the disenfranchised. The human trafficker is no respecter of faith, education, or socioeconomic status, and even kids who are raised in solid families in middle and upper class suburbs can fall victim. Likewise, labor trafficking happens in our cities, neighborhoods, and rural areas.

Through true stories and years of boots-on-the-ground experience, including at the Super Bowl, anti-trafficking expert Nita Belles teaches readers everything they need to know about human trafficking in the United States and what they can do to join the fight against it. She helps concerned parents, friends, teachers, law enforcement, government officials, and other leaders understand all forms of trafficking, identify risk factors, and take practical steps to keep their loved ones and neighbors safe from predators.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:48:28 -0400)

In recent years, Americans have woken up to the reality that human trafficking is not just something that happens in other countries. But what most still do not understand is that neither is it something that just happens to "other people" such as runaways or the disenfranchised. The human trafficker is no respecter of faith, education, or socioeconomic status, and even kids who are raised in solid families in middle and upper class suburbs can fall victim. Likewise, labor trafficking happens in our cities, neighborhoods, and rural areas. Through true stories and years of boots-on-the-ground experience, including at the Super Bowl, anti-trafficking expert Nita Belles teaches readers everything they need to know about human trafficking in the United States and what they can do to join the fight against it. She helps concerned parents, friends, teachers, law enforcement, government officials, and other leaders understand all forms of trafficking, identify risk factors, and take practical steps to keep their loved ones and neighbors safe from predators.… (more)

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