ENSLAVED by Gordon Thomas


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 Confusing hodgepodge that purports to expose a modern-day global slave trade. Prolific investigative journalist Thomas (Chaos Under Heaven, p. 1075; Journey Into Madness: Mind Control and the CIA Secrets, 1989, etc.) delivers only unsubstantiated and lurid tales of what turns out to be almost exclusively slavery for the purposes of sex. Opening with fast-paced if fragmentary vignettes from Lahore, Manila, Dubai, and Wiesbaden that show children sold into slavery as prostitutes, chattel for pederasts, hospitality girls, and snuff-film stars, Thomas does engage our attention. Some of his stories are truly heart-rending, but frustratingly remain just that--stories. Although a roster of interviewees, a reprint of Anti-Slavery Society publication titles, and a list of helpful organizations are included as appendices, none of these is referenced to the text. Thomas's ``real'' persons, present to give his chronicle verisimilitude, have a tendency to appear, take a turn on stage, and never be heard from again. Even the ones that stick around--the handful of concerned cops and community activists that he shows us fighting the good fight-- read like the Hardy Boys battling the Evil Empire. San Francisco homicide detective Earl Sanders and his partner, examining a ritual murder victim: ```Think this is more Santeria stuff, Earl?' `Looks like it, Nap.' `What they do with the blood?' `Probably drank it.' '' Thomas's annals of children being stolen in South and Central America, flown across the border, jobbed to child-sex rings that sell their organs for transplants--they all stream on, seemingly unswerved by order, chaos, fact, or fiction. At book's end, Thomas gives a nod to the well-documented tragedy of hundreds of thousands of children in Europe, the Third World, and the US trapped in factory and stoop labor. Luridly gripping sexploitation, second-rate journalism.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1991
ISBN: 0-88687-632-X
Page count: 304pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1991


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