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Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking

Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking

5.0 1
by Lydia Cacho, Elizabeth Boburg (Translator)

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Illegal, inhuman, and impervious to recession, there is one trade that continues to thrive, just out of sight. The international sex trade criss-crosses the entire globe, a sinister network made up of criminal masterminds, local handlers, corrupt policemen, willfully blind politicians, eager consumers, and countless hapless women and children. In this


Illegal, inhuman, and impervious to recession, there is one trade that continues to thrive, just out of sight. The international sex trade criss-crosses the entire globe, a sinister network made up of criminal masterminds, local handlers, corrupt policemen, willfully blind politicians, eager consumers, and countless hapless women and children. In this ground-breaking work of investigative reporting, the celebrated journalist Lydia Cacho follows the trail of the traffickers and their victims from Mexico to Turkey, Thailand to Iraq, Georgia to the UK, to expose the trade's hidden links with the tourist industry, internet pornography, drugs and arms smuggling, the selling of body organs, money laundering, and even terrorism.

This is an underground economy in which a sex slave can be bought for the price of a gun, but Cacho's powerful first-person interviews with mafiosi, pimps, prostitutes, and those who managed to escape from captivity makes it impossible to ignore the terrible human cost of this lucrative exchange.

Shocking and sobering, Slavery Inc, is an exceptional book, both for the colossal scope of its enquiry, and for the tenacious bravery with which Cacho pursues the truth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lionhearted Mexican journalist and activist Cacho probes prostitution, pedophilia, and sex trafficking rings across Southeast Asia, South America, and beyond in the follow-up to her last investigative opus, an edition that put one of her targets behind bars. Cacho pulls back the curtain on red-light districts in both East and West hemispheres. She walks through Le Merced in Mexico City as a nun, reports on a Yakuza ceremony in Tokyo patrolled by Japanese police officers, and shares the stories of Iraqi prostitutes servicing American soldiers. Combining journalism and social activism with a problematic lack of objectivity, Cacho’s narrative nonfiction storytelling unfortunately reads less like a trained journalist’s writing and more like a human rights activist in need of a lesson in basic reporting. For example, the author attacks post-modern feminists without clarifying their argument until the very last pages. Writing in the first person, Cacho is overly intent on showcasing the challenges she faced as a female investigative reporter as well as ongoing death threats; her unfiltered impressions detract from what the book purports to be—the story of women bought and sold for pleasure. In a book about so vital a subject, Cacho’s finger-pointing and righteous sentimentality deflate these issues and the victims’ stories into a “could-have-been” call-to-action. Agent: Andrea Montego, Indent Literary Agency. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Award-winning El Universal journalist Cacho has a history of crusading for human rights through her work. Here, she chronicles her global travels to document the world of human trafficking. Loosely organized into geographic regions first and then into the ways and means of the trafficking industry, the book never lacks for information. Cacho met untold numbers of sex slaves, pimps, law enforcement agents and rescue workers, and it's obvious she learned a great deal from all of them. This wealth of material, however, causes some problems for the author. Instead of giving detailed accounts, Cacho skims the surfaces of most stories in what seems like an attempt to include as much information as possible. This has the effect of making the book simultaneously dense and shallow, urgent and haphazard. Combined with a tendency to move on from a topic without fully supporting it, there is an underlying sense that the author had so much to say, she was unable to condense and synthesize it into something manageable. Further, many of her references are more than 10 years old, leading to questions of relevance. Directly addressing the reason for this would have been useful in allaying reader concerns about her research. Cacho also examines topics intimately related to trafficking, like money laundering, but these sections suffer the same lack of depth and clarity. What make the book palatable despite these deficiencies are the obvious dedication the author carries for her subject and her gift with words. Cacho is at her best when she loses herself in her interactions with her subjects; in those moments, the writing is so elegant that it purges memories of clunky exposition. It's clear that Cacho, with such passion for her subject, understands far more than her audience will. Unfortunately, she fails to make the connections for those who don't have her background knowledge.

Product Details

Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

When I was seven years old, every time my sister Sonia and I went out on the street, our mother warned us to stay away from the “child-snatcher,” an old woman, well known in our neighborhood, who stole girls. She would entice girls by offering them candy and then she would kidnap them and sell them off to strangers. Of course, the word “kidnapper” refers to the snatching of people of all ages, not just children. Forty years later, I discovered that the lesson of my childhood, which could have been taken from Charles Dickens, has now become
one of the most serious problems of the twenty-first century. Society in general tends to consider trafficking in women and children as a throwback to a time when the “white slave trade” was a small-time business run by pirates who kidnapped women to sell them to brothels in faraway countries. We thought that
modernization and strong global markets would eradicate this type of slavery and that the abuse of children in the darkest corners of the “underdeveloped” world would simply disappear through contact with Western laws and market economies. My research for this book shows the exact opposite. There is a world-wide explosion in organized-crime syndicates that kidnap, buy, and enslave women and children; the same forces that were supposed to eradicate slavery have strengthened it on an unprecedented scale. All over the planet, we are witnessing a culture that considers the kidnapping, disappearance, trade and corruption of young girls and adolescents as normal. They become sexual objects for rent and sale, and our global culture celebrates this objectification as an act of freedom and progress. In a dehumanizing market economy, millions of people assume that prostitution is a minor evil. They choose to ignore the fact that what underlies prostitution is exploitation, abuse, and the tremendous power of organized crime, exercised on a small and
large scale around the world.

For centuries, mafiosi, politicians, military officers, businessmen, industrialists, religious leaders, bankers, police officers, judges, priests, and ordinary men have participated in global organized-crime networks. The difference between individual offenders or small local gangs and the global criminal syndicates lies in their strategies, codes, and marketing practices. Without a doubt, corruption is what gives the mafia economic and political
power in every city where they do business. The search for pleasure is universal and provides a vital link in the chain: while some create the market for human slavery, others protect it, promote it, and feed it, or are in charge of renewing the demand for raw materials.

Organized crime includes mafias, syndicates or cartels that run illegal businesses to generate profits. The individuals who participate in these illegal activities are called gangsters, mafiosi, mobsters, or narcos, and they belong to the so-called “black economy.” They do not pay taxes to legitimate governments but they must negotiate with such governments in order to operate.
The deals between organized criminals and governments contribute
to the trade in arms, drugs, and human beings. This trade involves crimes such as robbery, fraud, and the illegal transport of goods and people...

Turkey is a country of seventy-five million inhabitants. Since signing a free-trade agreement with its European neighbors in 1996, Turkey, like the majority of other countries that have opened their borders, has faced the paradox of fostering the growth of the free market while also experiencing the growth of an illicit one. Turkey is an associate member of the European Union, but it has not yet met EU requirements for admission as a full member.

The plane lands in Turkey at night. The beauty of the starry sky painted with violet brushstrokes takes my breath away. Sitting in a taxi, on my way to the hotel, I roll down the window. The smells of Istanbul reach me: the diesel, the spices, and the salty breeze from the sea. Every city has its unique aroma.

The taxi driver, proud of his country, decides to give me a tour. He explains that we are in the area that separates Anatolia and Thrace, encompassing the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles—the area known as the Turkish Straits, which form a boundary between Asia and Europe. “We are about to be recognized as a member of the European Union,” he informs me in a friendly tone, using touristy English that hints at various accents. “Here everything is good,” he assures me. “Muslims, Jews, Christians, Agnostics, Protestants all live together,” he adds. He speaks as though he is repeating a slogan. I smile and think about the reports coming out of PEN International, an organization
that defends freedom of expression, citing the persecution and incarceration of Turkish journalists. However, I remain silent because I know that the world is not black and white and that all countries, just like the people who inhabit them, are diverse, complex, and magnificent at the same time.

The kindness of the people, their smiles, the warmth of the bellhop’s eyes as he greets me at the hotel, and the sweet voice of a receptionist who speaks perfect English, make me feel welcome. These things remind me that one cannot see the darkness without also seeing the light, and that kindness exists everywhere. I suppose that some of the 200,000 women and girls who have been trafficked to this country over the last five years have at one point experienced the kindness of someone who saw them as human beings, someone who made them smile, helping them to feel less alone.

I contact Eugene Schoulgin, an extraordinary writer, novelist, and journalist, born in 1941 of Russian-Norwegian descent. Eugene has lived in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he is now in Istanbul, serving as director of PEN International. He helps me to schedule some meetings with political analysts and direct sources. This dear friend affectionately takes care of me, and I intend to keep him informed as to my whereabouts and the people I meet, just in case something happens and he needs to know how and where to find me. I would not have been as successful at getting information on this trip without his security advice.

Meet the Author

Lydia Cacho is a Mexican journalist, author and a feminist activist. She has published seven books, one of them is the award-winning Manual to Prevent, Detect and Heal Child Sexual Abuse (Con Mi Hijo No). Currently Ms. Cacho is a columnist with El Universal, the main daily newspaper in Mexico, and a workshop teacher on successful approaches to help trafficking victims and on Community Schools for Peace: a holistic approach to negotiate conflicts.

Roberto Saviano is the author of Gomorrah, a best-selling exposé of the Camorra Mafia in Naples. The 29-year-old first-time author spent five years researching the book, working undercover at a mob-owned construction site and even waiting tables at a Mafia wedding. Following the release of Gomorrah, Saviano received a series of death threats. He has spent the last two years in hiding under police protection.

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Slavery Inc.: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Wildflowers More than 1 year ago
Each year, 1.39 million people around the world – mostly women and girls – are subjected to sexual slavery. They are bought, sold, and re-sold like raw materials in any given industry. Over a period of five years, award-winning El Universal journalist Lydia Cacho tracked the small and large international mafia operations by listening to the stories of survivors of sexual exploitation and documented them in her new book Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking. Translated from the original language into English by Elizabeth Boburg, Slavery Inc. is an absorbing read despite its gruesome subject. According to Lydia’s estimate, the sophisticated global sex industry has created a market for sex slaves that may soon outnumber the African slaves sold from the 1500s to the 1800s. Slavery Inc. is organized into thirteen well-defined chapters, with the first seven dealing with the geographical aspect of the issue. Taking the topic forward, the author takes a look at the demand, and what necessitated the sex industry. Informative and perceptive, the last few chapters are devoted to the method of operation employed by the people behind the industry. Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking by Lydia Cacho is shocking. The alarming rate at which the industry is growing is a major cause of concern. Hopefully the book will raise more awareness about the issue and make a difference regarding human trafficking, bringing in changes to existing laws and awarding harsh punishments to those who perpetrated it. Sadly, this book may just be the tip of an iceberg!