Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery [NOOK Book]

Overview

Remarkable, timely, and incredibly inspiring, Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery, will strike a chord with all young readers as it recounts the stories of courageous young women who escaped the unspeakable abuse of sexual slavery. Instead of running from their pasts, they choose to help those still caught in the system. Award-winning author Abby Sher tells the riveting story of three survivors of sexual slavery. These three women could easily have been voiceless victims, lost to ...
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Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery

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Overview

Remarkable, timely, and incredibly inspiring, Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery, will strike a chord with all young readers as it recounts the stories of courageous young women who escaped the unspeakable abuse of sexual slavery. Instead of running from their pasts, they choose to help those still caught in the system. Award-winning author Abby Sher tells the riveting story of three survivors of sexual slavery. These three women could easily have been voiceless victims, lost to the horrors of their own histories. Instead, they not only fought their way out of servitude, they have each become leading advocates and activists in the anti-trafficking movement.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

""An eye-opening look at an all-too-pervasive phenomenon; this title should be in all public library collections and in academic libraries that support social-justice curricula."--Library Journal

"These searing, harrowing stories tell us the dark truth of the lives of enslaved girls and women, our own sisters and daughters. In Abby Sher's generous, thoughtful prose, they also become tales of unbelievable courage, hope, and triumph." --Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There.

"If we want real, systemic change, we must listen to survivors. Abby Sher shares these survivors' truths with care and compassion, highlighting the courage and resilience of each woman. This is an excellent read for anyone who believes that ending exploitation is possible." --Lauren Hersh, Equality Now

"Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery is a courageous and compassionate exploration of a deeply difficult subject matter, filled with hope and solutions as well as important truths. I would say it should be required reading for every high school, but really, it should be required reading for every HUMAN." --Alysia Reiner, actress, Orange is the New Black

"Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery focuses on how survivors of prostitution and human trafficking have become leaders of change. It is invaluable for young people to learn about not just the horrors of sex trafficking but also how victims can become survivors and finally leaders."--Prof. Ruchira Gupta, New York University, Founder and President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide

"The harrowing real-life stories of three girls who turned their experiences as sex-trafficked children into a fight to destroy the practice.

This set of brief biographies opens with 9-year-old Somaly Mam in Cambodia around 1979. Sold to a brothel by her ostensible caretaker, Somaly experiences rape, beatings, starvation and punishment--she is covered in snakes and sewage. Her torments may seem alien to some readers, at least partly due to inadequate contextualization of Cambodia's historical moment (the immediate aftermath of genocide). It's therefore useful that the next story is Minh Dang's in 1990s California; her parents force her into prostitution when she's only 10. Her story seems otherwise so commonplace American (she plays soccer, gets A's in school, and is expected to attend and graduate from college) that the overlap between her experiences and Somaly's seems that much more horrific. The final biography is of Maria Suarez, a Mexican immigrant who's kidnapped, forced into a sexual relationship with an older man, arrested after his death, imprisoned for two decades and nearly deported on her eventual release.

The girls' stories could be too devastating to read save for each tale's conclusion, detailing the efforts these women have made to rescue girls and eliminate childhood slavery. Minh Dang is upset when people speak of her as an inhumanly brave heroine; the focus here on activism after suffering may be enough to show the women as people, not victims.

Harrowing, yes--and inspiring." --Kirkus Reviews

VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Marla Unruh
Modern slavery does not only happen in faraway places like Cambodia, as it did for Somaly Mam and thousands like her; it also happens right here in the United States, as it did for Minh Dang and Maria Suarez. Somaly’s parents left her when she was a baby. When she was nine, she was introduced to an older man she was told to call “Grandfather.” This man “owned” her and used her to pay his debts by lending her to other men. Finally he left her in a brothel, where she existed for three years. How Somaly escaped and eventually was able help others is astonishing. Minh and Maria have similar stories, except it was Minh’s own parents who sold her to others. Maria was coerced and restrained by an older man. Later she was falsely accused and imprisoned for his murder. The recovery these three women made, against all odds, is truly amazing. So few others ever escape. Chapters and sections begin with quotes from the three women or with short fact-and-fiction texts about the sex trade. The three stories are told in a simple, straightforward style suggestive of the voices of the women. The author depicts the horrors without graphic detail, choosing instead to let the stories flow on to the women’s victories. The fact that Somaly later was accused of stretching the truth in order to gain support for her foundation is omitted entirely. Instead, this is a paean to women who chose to overcome. Reviewer: Marla Unruh; Ages 11 to 18.
VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Jessica Smith
Breaking Free tells true, captivating stories about girls who survived modern slavery. This book offers worthwhile information because it shows that slavery can happen to anyone. Each girl’s story is shocking and heartbreaking, making the book a fast page-turner. At first, what happened to them feels surreal, but once the reality of their lives settles upon the reader, the reader will be motivated to help make a difference. Reviewer: Jessica Smith, Teen Reviewer; Ages 11 to 18.
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2014
In the preface to this remarkable work, Sher (Amen, Amen, Amen) admits that she had no idea of the prevalence of human trafficking around the world and certainly no inkling that it was common in the United States. The author then introduces the girls whose stories form the bulk of the book. Cambodian Somaly Mam, whose life inspired Sher to create this title, was abandoned by her parents when civil war broke out in the country. At first, other villagers took her in, but after an older man told her that he could help her find her parents, she became the man's slave and found herself imprisoned and working in a brothel. Next is the story of Minh Dang, a California child whose parents sell her for sex every day, even after she's in college. Last, Sher covers Maria Suarez, a Mexican girl who, while attending a job interview, was kidnapped into sexual slavery and later wrongly accused of murdering her captor. The stories are accompanied by inserts that describe a myth about slavery and then debunk it and followed by a chapter on related activism, which includes numerous resources for readers who would like to volunteer or otherwise contribute. VERDICT An eye-opening look at an all-too-pervasive phenomenon, this title should be in all public library collections and in academic libraries that support social justice curricula.—Henrietta Verma, Library Journal
School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—This moving title explores the world of modern day slavery and sex trafficking through three varied stories of women who were forced into sexual slavery but who escaped and are now working to help others in similar situations. Through straightforward, compassionate prose compiled from interviews with her subjects, Sher shows the amazing strength of Somaly Mam, who was taken from her village in Cambodia as a child and ended up in a brothel in Penh Phnom; Minh Dang, who was raped by her father at age three and then prostituted by her parents at 10; and Maria Suarez, a Mexican immigrant tricked into captivity. Dang's heartbreaking story in particular will resonate with readers and remind them how close to home the issue is, as the California teenager lived a double life, attending high school and playing soccer even as she was enduring such violence and abuse. Though these tales are rife with horrors and hardships, each woman's resilience shines through. Before each chapter, Sher includes common misconceptions and real facts about modern-day slavery and sex workers. Back matter includes more information on the topic, such as explanations for why trafficking occurs, a listing of significant moments in the anti-trafficking movement, a list of organizations working against trafficking and abuse, and resources for readers who want to take action. Sher's journalistic narratives will be approachable to struggling readers and serve as an accessible bridge into a subject matter not often discussed. While these emotionally stirring accounts are painful to read at times, Sher manages to avoid sensationalizing her subjects, keeping them human and relatable while appealing to teens' compassion and sense of social justice.—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-16
The harrowing real-life stories of three girls who turned their experiences as sex-trafficked children into a fight to destroy the practice.This set of brief biographies opens with 9-year-old Somaly Mam in Cambodia around 1979. Sold to a brothel by her ostensible caretaker, Somaly experiences rape, beatings, starvation and punishment—she is covered in snakes and sewage. Her torments may seem alien to some readers, at least partly due to inadequate contextualization of Cambodia's historical moment (the immediate aftermath of genocide). It's therefore useful that the next story is Minh Dang's in 1990s California; her parents force her into prostitution when she's only 10. Her story seems otherwise so commonplace American (she plays soccer, gets A's in school, and is expected to attend and graduate from college) that the overlap between her experiences and Somaly's seems that much more horrific. The final biography is of Maria Suarez, a Mexican immigrant who's kidnapped, forced into a sexual relationship with an older man, arrested after his death, imprisoned for two decades and nearly deported on her eventual release. The girls' stories could be too devastating to read save for each tale's conclusion, detailing the efforts these women have made to rescue girls and eliminate childhood slavery. Minh Dang is upset when people speak of her as an inhumanly brave heroine; the focus here on activism after suffering may be enough to show the women as people, not victims.Harrowing, yes—and inspiring. (glossary, resources, afterword) (Nonfiction. 14-17)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781438092553
  • Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 606,406
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • File size: 900 KB

Meet the Author


Abby Sher is a writer and performer whose work has appeared in Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion and Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting it, Giving it, Loving it, Missing it as well as in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Self, Jane, Elle, HeeB and Redbook. She is the author of the adult memoir Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying (Among Other Things) and the young adult novel Kissing Snowflakes. Abby has written and performed for the Second City in Chicago and the Upright Citizen's Brigade and Magnet Theater in New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
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