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Walking Prey: How America's Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery Hardcover – March 18, 2014
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“Rarely does a book synthesize the complicated world of the sex industry with such insight and thoughtfulness. Told from a survivor's perspective, this book should be required reading for service providers, community members, and our young people.” ―Lisa Goldblatt Grace, LICSW, MPH, Co-Founder & Director My Life My Choice
“Walking Prey sheds light on the shameful reality of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking within the United States. Holly Austin Smith's story helps to unravel the common mistruth that American youth are not vulnerable to human trafficking. Holly's courage and resilience is powerful, as are her thoughtful recommendations for law enforcement, government officials, and parents.” ―Cindy McCain, Business Owner, Humanitarian, & Senior Advisor to the McCain Institute
“Both as a parent and as the leader of a national organization concerned with the child sexual trafficking plague, I am grateful for this book and I urge parents and policymakers to read it.” ―Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
“In this thoroughly researched and profoundly moving account of sex trafficking in the United States, Holly Smith examines every statistic through a deeply considered reflection on her personal experience of being trafficked as a young teenager. By taking this courageous and generous approach she closes the gap between sensationalism and reality and opens the readers mind and heart past judgement and misconceptions to compassion and a desire to take action.” ―Deborah Kampmeier, writer and director of Hounddog
“By candidly sharing her experience and her expertise, Holly Austin Smith helps professionals understand how they can help, not hurt, child sex trafficking victims. She thoughtfully teaches parents, educators and all of us what is within our power to do to prevent this horrendous crime.” ―Melysa Sperber, Director, Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking
“In Walking Prey, Holly exposes how the manipulative tactics of sex traffickers is made easier by the media; this revelation still makes my skin crawl. Something needs to be done so that our girls are not as easily lured by sex traffickers. Holly's story adds fuel to my fire to continue to educate girls about media literacy.” ―Nicole Clark, Director of Cover Girl Culture
“Holly provides a vital voice to the anti-trafficking field and exposes the harsh realities of child sex trafficking in America. Her insight is courageous, thought provoking and timely. Anyone reading this book can use what they learn to become an active participant in ensuring a better future for our youth.” ―Staca Shehan, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
“Holly Smith's Walking Prey is a brave and moving book, but it's much more besides. It stands above the traditional narratives of slavery and emancipation, achieving that mix of personal truth and intellectual analysis that marks the work of a special few like Frederick Douglass. Her story is chilling, and a strong reminder of our nation's failure to protect its children. What makes "Walking Prey different is the deep and passionate, yet cool and logical, understanding of why and how our nation has failed, and what we should be doing about it. This is a book for everyone and one that is a must read for anyone hoping to see the final end of trafficking and slavery in our country.” ―Kevin Bales, Author and Co-Founder of Free the Slaves
“Walking Prey is by far the clearest and most compelling assessment I've read on the issue of child sex trafficking in the United States. It addresses the primary questions surrounding the issue and then offers practical points of engagement for those wanting to join the fight against it. I would say it's a leading resource for anyone on the frontlines of protecting the innocence of these children in our nation.” ―Morgan Perry, Producer of Sex+Money: A National Search For Human Worth
“A brave and profoundly important book. In an engaging style and with wisdom gained from terrible personal experience, Holly Smith illuminates the issue of child trafficking and offers practical, compassionate, and useful advice for teenagers, parents, and people in the field. Countering the stereotype of the "victim," she shows what sets many children up for abuse. She also illustrates how advertisers and marketers fuel the commercial and sexual exploitation of children and put all children at risk.” ―Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., creator of the Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women film series
About the Author
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As a survivor of sex trafficking, I, too, was so desperate to be loved and accepted that I fell for the first man who showed me attention. Walking Prey has helped me heal, and it can help other survivors. For one thing, it is reassuring to know that others have experienced some of the same things that I did. While reading Walking Prey, there were times that I thought I was reading my own story. But Holly’s book has more to offer than simply shared experiences that validate my feelings. Walking Prey has also helped me to understand the factors in my childhood that led me up to the point that I would succumb to a predator. Through her book, I was able to recognize and clearly see patterns in my own life that I had not before realized influenced my own journey, such as the impact of media on children.
I highly recommend this book for everyone—survivors, teenagers, parents, teachers, service providers—everyone. It's time for us to see what commercials and music and TV programs and movies are doing to our children and the effect the media are having on them. I do not want to go as far as to say that a young person’s introduction to sex trafficking is entirely “society's fault”; however, after reading Holly's powerful, well thought out book, I can see how large a role media play in creating teenagers who are lost and in a search for love.
I am thankful that Holly wrote this book. It has helped me to understand my own childhood and my own healing process. Even more importantly, it helps me identify ways that I can support other families in taking action to protect all our children from predators who want to exploit them.