( 14 )


Hannah has struggled ever since her parents were killed and her beloved uncle vanished. So when she's offered the chance to leave Moldova and become a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, it seems like a dream come true-and at first it is. But after weeks of working sixteen-hour days and not being able to leave the house, she still hasn't been paid. As things go from bad to worse, Hannah realizes that things are not at all what they seem and she finds herself doing things she never imagined herself capable of. But ...

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Hannah has struggled ever since her parents were killed and her beloved uncle vanished. So when she's offered the chance to leave Moldova and become a nanny for a family in Los Angeles, it seems like a dream come true-and at first it is. But after weeks of working sixteen-hour days and not being able to leave the house, she still hasn't been paid. As things go from bad to worse, Hannah realizes that things are not at all what they seem and she finds herself doing things she never imagined herself capable of. But as she begins uncovering the family's crooked history, she may be exposing more than she bargained on-and putting her life in danger.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this timely and fiercely honest debut novel, paced like a thriller, Purcell confronts the economic and sexual brutality inherent in the practice of human trafficking. After a terrorist bombing kills 17-year-old Hannah's parents (and police implicate her father), Hannah and her babushka (grandmother) teeter on the precipice of economic peril in Eastern Europe's impoverished Moldova. Just after Hannah leaves school, postponing her dreams of becoming a doctor, a charming agent named Olga offers her job in the United States. Despite widespread anxiety about the export of girls as sex products, this seems the only viable option for Hannah. After Hannah makes a harrowing journey across Russia and assumes a false identity, her dream job quickly becomes a nightmare. Housed in a typical L.A. home, she functions as a nanny (and house slave) for an indulgent but lascivious man and his monstrous, vindictive wife who won't allow her to leave the house and fails to pay her. The novel's intelligent, feisty heroine and strongly sketched supporting cast prove a powerful lens into this shocking issue and its psychological costs. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kate Lee, ICM. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Human trafficking continues to be an enormous problem, not just in other parts of the world, but in our own back yard. According to the author, the government estimates that 14 to 17 thousand people are trafficked in America annually, with half of those being children or teens (p. 385). The author bases her fictional characters on real stories she heard while teaching English as a second language in Los Angeles and on research she did in the former Soviet province, Moldava. Hannah is 17 when she loses both her parents to a terrorist bomb and has to leave school in order to support her grandmother. When she is approached by an acquaintance of her aunt's offering her a job as nanny in the United States, she reluctantly makes the decision to go. She is promised a salary that will quickly earn her the money to pay for her grandmother's much needed cataract surgery and then return home or stay in the United States to finish school and go on to medical school. Not surprisingly, everything she has been told is a lie. She has essentially been sold into slavery to a Russian family living in the United States. Hannah's money is stolen by one of the "handlers" before she even arrives, and her return ticket and documents are confiscated by the family upon her arrival. She works from morning until late at night, sleeps in the garage, and is never paid. It turns out her letters home are not being mailed. Her relationship with her captors—for employers would be too neutral a word—is complicated by getting hints that the man, Sergey, knows what really happened to her parents and may know the whereabouts of her missing uncle. It is clear Sergey is involved in illegal activities, that his wife is truly paranoid and abusive, and that Sergey's business associate would like nothing better than to put Hannah to work for him as a prostitute. She is confined to the house with threats but manages to meet the boy next door, Colin, one night when she takes out the garbage. Ultimately, when her very life is on the line, she escapes and is saved by his family and the authorities. The use of lies and intimidation to control people brought here as human slaves is convincingly portrayed. The book is very long and slow-moving at times. Although there is an author note and acknowledgements, a list of organizations and/or sources that could provide information and support for people interested in this problem would have been very useful.
VOYA - Lindsay Grattan
At seventeen, Hannah is all too aware of life's hardships growing up in Moldova since the collapse of the Soviet Union. After her parents are killed in a terrorist bombing, she lives with her grandmother, who is quickly losing her eyesight to cataracts. Working in the village market, Hannah does not make enough money to help her grandmother pay for the surgery that could keep her from going blind. When she is offered work in Los Angeles as a nanny for excellent pay, she quickly accepts. Upon arriving at the family's house for which she will be working, she soon learns that things are not as she had been promised . . . and that maybe she should have listened to the warnings of her friends back home. This novel offers a hard look at the realities of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Purcell has created an accessible story that young adults can find themselves relating to and sympathizing with. Hannah is an outsider living with a wealthy family, desperate for freedom and friendship. She longs to take advantage of all that America has to offer, to be a typical American teen like her next-door neighbor, but there are secrets being kept from her and she must do everything she can to save herself from an increasingly volatile situation. Mature readers will be intrigued by descriptions of Moldovan culture and the intricacies of language and understanding, and will be completely immersed in this suspenseful, heartbreaking, and excellent read. Reviewer: Lindsay Grattan
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Many reluctant readers won't be able to put down this riveting novel. Hannah, 17, grew up in Moldova seeing "You Are Not a Product" posters warning her about the trafficking of human beings. Nonetheless she still wants to try and make it to America to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and sending back money to her grandmother, her only living relative. Using false documents and the instructions of an unsavory agent, Hannah makes her way through United States immigration only to end up in a fresh hell that gets worse as the months go on. The garage, not the guest room, is where the Russian family who "ordered" her makes her sleep. And sleep is in short supply after days full of cleaning and caring for the Platonovs' children. Sergey, who looks at Hannah with hungry eyes, promises his wife that he is going legit and trying to leave behind the Russian American crime world, but his boss runs many illegal ventures, including making money off poor trafficked girls, and Hannah fears what awaits her if she fails to appease them all. With no pay or life beyond working, she is a slave, anonymous and disposable. The characters ring true and as the plot reaches a crisis point, readers will be drawn in by the suspense of Hannah's captivity.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Before her parents died in a terrorist bombing, Hannah was an ordinary Moldovan teen, dreaming of becoming a doctor. Now she sells carrot salad in the market and watches her future recede while her peers plan for college. Offered a way out--false documents and a high-paying job as a nanny in California--Hannah accepts. Her terrifying journey nets her unpaid slavery as nanny and housekeeper in a house she's forbidden to leave. Her room is a windowless garage without privacy; her letters home are stolen. Smart yet naive, crushed yet resilient, nearly but not entirely powerless, Hannah grows attached to the children. But their mother abuses Hannah, and their father and his predatory associate stalk her. She finds some consolation watching the boy next door; he's her age, but they live in utterly different worlds. Hannah's world, in which men have the power and freedom to treat her body as their property, where any small kindness is expected to be returned in sexual currency, is chillingly credible and unflinchingly revealed. Halfway through this debut, a distracting, melodramatic subplot featuring complicated political intrigue is introduced, but Hannah herself, compelling and believable, keeps readers focused on her plight and that of other de facto slaves worldwide. After this, readers won't find them so easy to ignore: One could be the nanny next door. (author's note) (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142424162
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/7/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 252,647
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Purcell is a novelist, journalist and teacher. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Westchester, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012


    This book looks amazing. My librarian ordered this for someone and the back also said the Russian mom makes the girl be a prostitute. Would be a good book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Awesome book

    Ive even meet the author herself shes so nice and kind i love her book i recommend it i feel in love with this book i even got her signature

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Add me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014


    At first i thought the book had more action but it was a more...calm way to deal with the situation. It makes me horrified at how she was treated and the fact that this still happens. It gives you a different perspective on things

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

       Trafficked was a breath of fresh air. I haven't read a contem

       Trafficked was a breath of fresh air. I haven't read a contemporary on this topic, and I think that Ms. Purcell did a wonderful job portraying it. 
        I felt for Hannah, the main character so much. She didn't come from a life of priveledge, she'd lost her parents, and she thought that a new start in the US would be good for her. Little did she know what would await her. 
        The family that she ends up with seemed normal enough at first, but you quickly realized that there was a lot brewing under the surface. Sergei, the father, her supposed uncle, shows her unexpected kindness here and there, but he is still a part of the whole scheme. Then there is Lillian, who is a good mom when she wants to be, but so untrusting of her husband, and then the work that she forces Hannah to do-- the hours, the chores, not getting paid, keeping her in the house, among other things.
        It painted a grim picture, and I felt so much for Hannah, but also admired her because she kept showing resiliance, and a will to figure things out. She also was so good with the kids, Michael and Maggie, befriending and caring for them in such a tender way. 
        It of course, had to get to a pretty dark place before things could turn around for Hannah, and while I was def glad to see her story had an ending that didn't break my heart, what does break my heart is that people--teen and children are still living like this all around the world, and even in our country. 

    Bottom Line: Chilling dive into human trafficking.

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  • Posted October 31, 2013

    ¿Trafficked¿ is one of those books that should come with a warni

    “Trafficked” is one of those books that should come with a warning. It will keep you up way past your bedtime and have you thinking about it every second of every day until you’ve finished reading it, and then some more. It is a superb read. Every emotion conceivable is what this book will bring out in you. Or at least, that’s what it did for me.

    This book was utterly amazing! It was such an eye-opener and the level of research done for this novel must’ve been astounding because it shows. It doesn’t get any more real than this. I don’t even know where to start without bombarding you with all that I loved about this book. The catch-phrase on the back cover reads: “The American dream becomes a nightmare”. As appropriate as this proved to be for this novel, that statement is open to interpretation. Us privileged people would feel that Hannah was justified to feel the way she did and act in the manner she did, but others less fortunate might feel that she had it easy and would put up with Lillian’s abuse with a smile. I rooted for Hannah all the way. The treatment she endured from Lillian broke my heart into a million pieces, a million times. I hated Lillian. I seethed at the abuse she heaped on Hannah. And every time I thought I saw a little humanity pushing its way to the surface in Lillian, she’d turn around and destroy whatever goodwill I tried to feel towards her by hurling insults and unfounded accusations at Hannah. And what she did to Hannah’s hair is just atrocious, but is nothing compared to what she did to Hannah at the end. I seriously had a love-hate thing going with this character.

    Sergey is an all-out enigma. It was hard to tell whether he was on Hannah’s side or what the heck fence he was sitting on. At least I liked him a lot more than I did Lillian and I kept hoping he would be Hannah’s saving grace. In a very twisted way he did save her from a lot of things, but even at the end, his actions were cowardly and selfish. I would’ve liked to know more of Sergey’s back story and his connection to Hannah’s past. It would’ve been nice if the author had taken the time to develop that line in the story a little more so I could have more compassion towards Hannah’s father and his dealings with the resistance, as well as a more sympathetic understanding of Sergey’s motives. 

    But let’s get back to Lillian for a moment. What made Lillian such a dangerous character – and what I’m guessing would make most women such forces to be reckoned with – is her jealousy and her insecurity about her husband having cheated on her before. That’s what I loved about all these characters. All of them had relatable motives for their actions. Not necessarily justifiable, but motives that would make any reader stop and think: how would I have reacted in such a situation? This story presents the reader with many such questions. 

    What fascinated me most was the contrast between the living standards in America compared to the ones in Moldova (which is near Romania in Eastern Europe for those who have no idea where Moldova is ~ it’s an extremely poor country). It was even more shocking because it is real. What we take for granted (something as simple as soft, white toilet paper, and hot water coming out of faucets) are luxuries for Moldovians. It was heartbreaking and refreshing to witness Hannah’s awe over the everyday, simple things we are so used to. 

    I loved the family set up in this novel. The kids were adorable, but they were more in the background and I would’ve loved to see more of the contact between them and their father. When Hannah was taken on a tour through the family’s residence on the day of her arrival, I could easily form a picture in my mind of every room, and this helped me to feel part of the story for the remainder of the book. I could even feel the stuffiness of the garage Hannah had to sleep in, in a sleeping bag on the sofa in the unrelenting Californian heat. 

    Hannah’s fascination and eventual friendship with the boy next door adds a tiny bit of a romantic feel to the story, but I felt it was only included as a plot device to assist in the conclusion. However, I was very relieved that it wasn’t an insta-love thing for Hannah or Colin, and that she befriended him because she needed someone to talk to, not someone to swoon over. What I also liked about it is that it introduced yet another flawed character (Hannah has crooked front teeth, Colin is overweight) and showed that even if you’re privileged and have everything you wish for, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy. The story has lots of subtle messages such as this one. 

    “Trafficked” is a wonderful book and it surprised me to no end. I felt part of this world and easily walked in Hannah’s shoes and felt the frustration she did. The writing is simplistic and uncomplicated, which works perfectly well for Hannah’s simplistic and uncomplicated character. I hated Paavo and his wife, Rena, and feared the horrible things he could do to Hannah or her family back home in Moldova. I was intrigued by the mystery of her parents’ death, Sergey and Paavo’s possible connection to them, and I was kept guessing about the disappearance of Hannah’s beloved uncle right up to the end. This is more than the average human-trafficking interest story. It is different in so many ways and it has heart. I recommend “Trafficked” to anyone and everyone looking for a heartfelt read that leaves you counting your blessings and appreciating everyday conveniences so much more.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Great book

    I loved this book it was really good and made me realize what is happening around us and people dont even realize what is happening to people from other countries being trafficked to the USA or other countries for work or sex or something its not right in this book hanna the main character tinks she is goin to america for just work but ends up being abused not paid and almost getting raped she loves he kids and hates the adults she works for and there friends she meets colin next door who in the end helps her escape from her employers and there friends and is finally saved from beind trafficked into america.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    I read it

    I borrowed it drom my LA teacher and I read the whole thing in four days. It was so interestimg that I could not take my eyes off it. I never would have guessed Sergey was evil but he is. It is a VERY good book.

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  • Posted September 8, 2012

    In Trafficked Hannah, a Russian girl, gets offered a job in Amer

    In Trafficked Hannah, a Russian girl, gets offered a job in America to be a nanny for a Russian family. Her parents have been killed and she needs the money ($400 per week) to support her grandmother and herself. She soon finds out that she actually isn’t there to be a nanny, but virtually a modern day slave. She works all hours without pay and she can’t leave the house. Luckily this is not a true story.

    So far, this book is extremely good. It is slightly hard to read, only because it’s a difficult subject. A problem in the book I didn’t like was how naïve Hannah was. All of her friends were wary about Hannah going to America because of all the girls who got caught up in human trafficking, but Hannah didn’t even think twice.

    This book does a good job of representing human trafficking in the US without being to colorful, or graphic.

    It is gritty, and I would not recommend the book for people who don’t like to feel apprehension for characters in the book or if you are uncomfortable with the subjects of human trafficking and rape. Although, give it a try because books like this are important to read so hat people understand and are aware of the problem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2012

    A really great read and an accurate view of modern day slavery f

    A really great read and an accurate view of modern day slavery from the
    girls' (victims') point of view. I couldn't put it down!

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  • Posted June 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Trafficked by Kim Purcell Trafficked is a difficult subject to

    Trafficked by Kim Purcell

    Trafficked is a difficult subject to read about but so important that I couldn’t wait to sit down and read it. Kim Purcell has done an excellent job and I give her ton’s of credit for telling us this story even though it’s a fiction novel we all know this is happening today somewhere. Kim’s words flowed extremely well, character descriptions are written excellent, and I felt so much sorrow for what Hannah is going through. There were times I had to stop and remember this is a fiction novel but deep down you know very well that does happen. It’s hard to believe that there are people that would take advantage of another human being like this.

    We meet Hannah who is a seventeen young woman, who has just signed on to becoming a nanny for a family in America. Things start off rough for her but she is hoping once she reaches the family she will be working for things will get better. It doesn’t take her long to realize things are not what she was expecting. In her new home this family is horrible to her, she has to work harder than anyone should, she is threatened and warned what would happen to her if anyone found out she was there illegally. The abuse from the mother is endless and only gets worse. Hannah is unsure if she is going to survive.

    I have rated Trafficked a 5 star rating, this book is written so well I have to give Kim Purcell 5 stars for sharing an ongoing issue in our world today and she has written it for the YA reader well mature YA reader with class and strength. I cannot say enough about this story or the author. If you read my review I would say go now and buy this book immediately.

    I would recommend this book to anyone who can read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012


    It is a slow read but so far iit's great

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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