A vital guide for teachers, nonprofits, and others seeking to understand the global fight against slavery.




A brief, clear introduction to the tragedy of human trafficking in the 21st century.

A 10th-generation Parisian who lives in London, Villa brings a welcome global perspective to her overview of present-day slavery and how readers can fight it. She has served for more than a decade as CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which promotes human rights, and she draws heavily on that experience as she describes the brutal fates of the estimated 40 million people worldwide who are “forced to work, through fraud or threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence.” Roughly 30 percent of the victims are trafficked for sex while 70 percent are trapped in involuntary labor. She includes oral histories of three survivors, two of whom suggest the range of forms modern slavery takes: Deependra Giri, an educated Nepalese man who signed a two-year contract for an office job in Qatar only to have to surrender his passport when he arrived, which meant he couldn’t leave when his employer paid a fraction of the agreed-upon salary; and Marcela Loaiza, a dancer in Colombia lured to Tokyo by a con man who promised to make her famous but whose associates demanded, once she got to Japan, that she pay them $50,000 by working as a prostitute and threatened harm to her family if she didn’t comply. Some of the crimes Villa describes, like sex trafficking, have garnered wide attention, but other shadowy practices are less well known. These include the Kafala, or sponsorship, system in place in the Persian Gulf region, which allows employers to confiscate migrant workers’ passports and deny them exit permits until the company says they can leave. In the most useful parts of the book, Villa instructs readers on what they can do to support anti-slavery efforts, including donating to groups like the Human Trafficking Legal Center, which provides free lawyers for victims. Villa’s use of real names and photos of survivors lends credibility to stories that might otherwise be too shocking to believe.

A vital guide for teachers, nonprofits, and others seeking to understand the global fight against slavery.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5381-2728-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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