“At any given time, up to 20 to 27 million people around the world are believed to be victims of some form of human trafficking.” Or you could call it slavery.
Hillary Rodham Clinton might think that modern slavery is “thriv[ing] in the shadows,” but in reality, it is thriving right out in the open. What is in the shadows is paying due recognition to human trafficking, and Behnke’s shattering overview of modern slavery’s many hues will go a long way toward raising the bar of awareness and action. Behnke keeps her tone even; hysterics would only distract from the sheer villainy of the institution. And institution it is, with various departments and subunits: There are labor trafficking and sex trafficking, debt bondage, organ trafficking, and baby and toddler trafficking. Some traffickers are lone wolves, others are members of an extended family, still others are rings with global reach. The book has a number of boxed testimonials of special piquancy, as well as a good number of bell-clear pictures to bring the issue home. Of note is the chapter on how to steer clear of slave-manufactured products and, indeed, how to read the signs that someone may be trafficked. What really zings to the heart of the problem are the roles played by poverty, discrimination and lack of education in the fostering of vulnerability to becoming a slave.
This slim volume makes clear the grinding reality of the cheapest labor and presents a welcome chance to act. (Nonfiction. 11-18)