From Publishers Weekly
Though the slave narrative died out at the end of the 19th century, the directors of the American Anti-Slavery Group have been "unfortunately ... compelled to revive it today" in order to illuminate the flourishing 21st century international slave trade-which has trapped "between 15 and 30 million people, by various estimates" in human bondage. Presenting the powerful contemporary stories of seven former slaves and one former slave owner, the editors apologize "for asking you to read such frank accounts of human cruelty and unnecessary suffering," and readers deserve the warning: among other first-person horror stories are a runaway American teen tortured and held as a prostitute; a slave in Sudan stabbed for resisting rape; a Haitian girl in Connecticut sold for $2,500; and a Sri Lankan woman escaping her torturers by jumping from a fourth floor balcony. In the forward, feminist pioneer Steinem warns that "we have reached a dangerous stage: a time of believing that slavery is over." These stories prove that human trafficking, especially in women and children, is a thriving industry, and one in which all consumers have a stake. Beyond illuminating the way everyday consumer decisions-such as which green tea or socks to buy-support institutions of bondage such as Chinese labor camps, an epilogue provides resources for joining the anti-slavery movement and educating others.
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Nineteenth-century slave narratives compelled changes in social mores and international law when readers were confronted with the stories of the human beings behind the economy of slavery. The editors of this collection hope for similar reactions as they present modern-day slave narratives from people held against their will as sex slaves, house servants, laborers, and migrant workers. Seven former slaves recall harrowing experiences of abduction into involuntary servitude. When her parents are killed in Haiti, Micheline Slattery is passed along among cruel family members before being shipped into domestic servitude in a Connecticut suburb. Abuk Bak, a Sudanese girl, is caught in a slave raid, raped, and held against her will for 10 years, long before the ethnic war in Darfur gained international attention. Harry Wu recalls his arrest when he was a university student, and the 19 years he spent in China's forced-labor camps. Abdel Nasser, a Mauritanian slave master, recalls his personal journey from slaveholder to abolitionist. A heartbreaking, eye-opening account. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved