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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2009
With "The Slave Next Door" Bales and Soodalter have written the definitive work for this recently "hot" social issue.
Meticulously researched (over 30 pages of appendices and notes) and compelling, it documents not only the problem but a well thought out plan of action for government, law enforcement and NGOs. The authors also spell out ways for ordinary citizens to do right by their fellow human beings.
This book should be required reading for every legislator, law enforcement officer and religious leader in the country.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2009
I offer my first- and second-year college writing students a number of books from which to write about each semester on the subject of victims of war, and I allow some of these books to be on war-like conditions: after all, events like rape and murder recreate war episodes to victims even if they are not part of a war. Certainly, "The Slave Next Door" qualifies. While its advocacy against human slavery is clear and strong, it maintains an objectivity and seeks to gather facts in great detail to bolster its assertions that (1) slavery is much more common than most of us realize, (2) many of us see or are affected by it each day in the products we use and the culture we experience, and (3) it won't go away easily or soon. The book is, in these regards, somewhat depressing, but at the same time it is filled with narratives of individual illustrative cases that make it a very interesting read.

One of the more worthy facts and illustrative stories in "Slave" is that sex slavery accounts for a smaller part of slavery in the U.S. than docudramas on TV suggest: agricultural, small-business, and even domestic household slavery all are huge businesses. Individual stories are sometimes heartbreaking and often frustrating in their outcomes as public and private agencies fight, often valiantly but with often with little or no useful result, to help men, women, and children who have been grabbed, tricked, or otherwise spun by a web of lies and violence into a world they never wanted or expected and don't know how to handle. The chapters are arranged such that it is quite possible to read and focus on just a few to gain important knowledge on specific aspects of the slave trade in the U.S.

What are the book's weaknesses? It is somewhat repetitive, partly to get its points across and partly, I would assume, from the author's assumption that many people will in fact choose just a few chapters to read. There is also, especially in the final chapters, quite a bit of advocacy for change, not to mention intricate details of state and federal laws, mandates, and organizations, little of which helped or attracted me as a reader. On the other hand, I have to admit I'm glad these details are there--on the record--for individuals and groups who might need them to help create new organizations or projects to fight U.S. slavery. One more wish I had is that even though books like this normally don't have illustrations, I would have enjoyed having photos or even a short photo section of eight to sixteen pages--especially after seeing TV documentaries about such slavery--so that I could see the faces of those who were enslaved and those who enslaved them.

But these are minor concerns. In all, I strongly recommend "Slaves" to anyone interested in the subject.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
Modern slavery and human trafficking are subjects that are near and dear to my heart. Author Kevin Bales is the head of the anti-slavery organization "Free the Slaves," so this book was a natural to go in my reading queue. The information cuts you right to the bone, but the writing is difficult to stay with. Bales is many things, but a writer he is not. You might do just as well to go to the Free the Slaves website and get the information dry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
I picked up THE SLAVE NEXT DOOR: HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SLAVERY IN AMERICA TODAY by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter after seeing Mr. Bales interviewed on the radio/television news program DEMOCRACY NOW!. While I knew slavery was as widespread as ever in the United States and other countries, this detail-laden book takes that down the abstraction ladder to the kitchen floor where your neighbors make their live-in "maid" sleep. With each page you turn, THE SLAVE NEXT DOOR spins your head with account after account of people either fooled or taken by force into farming, construction, domestic, or sex work without pay - and with violence should they try to escape.

To my surprise, I am only the third person to review THE SLAVE NEXT DOOR on this web site. I don't know if that means the book is not selling as well as it should or if people just don't want to talk about slavery, even if they read about it. As I write this in October 2009, DEMOCRACY NOW! is the only broadcasting program I follow to run a story on THE SLAVE NEXT DOOR. I promoted the book to a local newspaper reporter who was covering the trial of a human trafficking operator and hope others talk it up to journalists, too. While there is no shortage of injustice in the world, whatever things could quantify as worse than slavery, there can't be many.

Read and promote THE SLAVE NEXT DOOR.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2010
A major point reflected in the opening chapters of the book is that slave owners can be anybody. Its a frightening, unfortunate, and true message. The woman who enslaved poor Maria looked like a regular ordernary Texan housewife. It made me want to get up, walk out of my house and individually check every house in America for slaves. After reading this book and learning in what kinds of numbers slavery still exists in the country, you will be inspired to help the writers' cause. you cant ask for more in a book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Most Americans believe that slavery is either dead or something that occurs in far off places to foreign people and thusly does not exist or concern us. Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter dispels these myths in The Slave Next Door. Through a combination of cold hard facts and personal stories of exploitation, cohesion, and enslavement. Unlike other books that only focus on one aspect of slavery ( like the sex trade), Bales and Soodalter premise is that no form of slavery is justified and talks deeply about systems of agricultural labor, domestics, and sex slavery and argue that the traffickers will continue to find inventive ways to enslave and exploit others. We have a role in the slave system because we get items like hand-woven rugs from India, Pakistan, and Nepal , steel and metals used in cars is obtained from Brazil after the charcoal has been collected by slaves in Brazil and most distressingly we may be eating products produced from slave labor brought to us by America's largest corporations.

Bales and Soodalter further attack the notion that sex trafficking is only a problem for foreign born women in this country by illustrative cases like that of Dennis Paris who used heroin addiction to control several American born, naturalized citizens into a web of prostitution. The last portion of the book is dedicated to an assessment of United States policy towards victims of Modern Day Slavery by going through agency by agency in the federal government and discussing the steps they are taking to combat the problem. One thing that comes out of here is that NGO's that deal with human slavery are hideously under funded and are in desperate need of skilled labor and this is key when he discusses at the end, what we as Americans can do about modern slavery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
This book did an excellent job of bringing the problem of slavery that is currently going on in the U.S. to the attention of the reader. I would have liked more summaries of real life experiences. I rate this book as extremely informative. Every citizen should read this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2012
Whether you a police officer, victim service provider, a student, a community member, an academic or anyone wanting to really identify issues and factual information about human trafficking, this is the source above all others. One can pick up the book and go to any section to find out "how" better to become effectively involved in prevention, prosecution, or understanding victims and their long road back to a sense of self-worth. This is a book that should be mandatory reading as a source book and yet a book that gives common sense advice in order to stop modern day slavery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
When read in conjunction with "Sex trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery" you really get comprehensive coverage of this terrible worldwide problem. A must reads for anyone with a conscience. It is not a fast read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2014
In this book, personally I believe that this author, Kevin Bales, wrote phenomenally about the realistic confliction the world struggles with today, known as slavery. Globally slavery is a huge issue and he strongly works to fight against modern day slavery. Kevin Bales is the co-founder/ president of Free the Slaves organization. His self-motivation to write this book is shown in his passion towards wanting to end slavery. He starts the book off in paragraph one with, “We know that slavery is a bad thing, perpetrated by bad people. We also know that slavery not only exits throughout the world today but flourishes.” He writes with a tone of criticism about modern day slavery. I found many parts interesting such as the section “What are we going to do about this?” In this section, he lists many possible solutions with a positive attitude towards being able to stop acts of slavery but then he explains the logic of all possible dangers that can come into play. He writes with his opinion clearly in place but he does not leave out any facts that go against his activism. For example, in another section titled “Understanding Evil” it does not justify the acts of slavery but it takes a step into their mindset as to what reasoning they might have. Slaveholders hold a state of mind that has a certain level of their own rationalization.
My reaction this book was that it left me feeling very more informed and in a way emotional about slavery in the world today. In my opinion, the book was entertaining to read because it was factual yet it included different point of views. Personal stories from victims were included as well as situations involving police officers. Kevin Bales himself has written other books, spoken at events, and has included himself as a huge activist as part of Free the Slaves to make a lasting impact on society to raise awareness for modern-day slavery. Kevin Bales interest comes from within, as a reader I could truly tell his passion for such a global problem. Slavery should no longer be known as in the past because it never disappeared. Modern- day slavery does exist and in many forms.
I would recommend this book because it is informative about every type of slavery, how it occurs, possible solutions, and leaves you to ask yourself what you will do to help. Not only does this book focus on statistics of slavery and the real world problems that come about when trying to stop it but it has emotion too. True stories are included in detail of children, older women, teenagers and families that have been involved in slavery. The impact left on these people are traumatizing, the miracle that they survived and escaped in some situation is relieving while other child-trafficking stories do not end so well leaving a feeling of sadness in your heart.
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