Saturday, May 17, 2014

Book Review: Sold by Patricia McCormick

by M. J. Joachim

Map of Trafficking of Men, Women & Children by Country/Destination

Researching human trafficking couldn’t have been easy for McCormick, based on the story that unfolds. It is a diary of sorts, of a young India girl from a very poor family. All she wants is to help her mother keep food on the table and buy the much needed roof their little family needs, since her stepfather does nothing much but gamble away any meager earnings they have, leaving them even more destitute than they already are. 

Herein reveals the plight of women and young girls in these distant countries - a gender without a voice, reliant on a man’s status, even if he is unwilling to care for them like anything more than possessions, to be tossed, used and mistreated, broken, disregarded, whatever he wants, because women clearly have little or no value to this culture or society. 

You’d think it couldn’t get any worse than that, until you get to the part about selling the daughter into servitude, to provide for the family and her younger brother (again the gender issue exposed, but he is a baby, after all). Except the 13 year old daughter isn’t being sent to work as a maid to a wealthy family. Instead she is being sold into prostitution, something she and her mother do not know. Her stepfather literally sells her to get more gambling money. 

She progresses on a long journey, and her story unfolds in rapid page turning fashion. Readers can’t help but be intrigued by the lengths these human smugglers go to, to hide and keep the girls, intimidating and instilling fear in them every step of the way, dashing their hopes, dreams and any dignity they might have, all to earn a price from the highest bidder. 

Sold was a National Book Award Finalist. It is geared toward young adults, but I believe it is important for adults to read it too. It is a gentle way to understand the background of human trafficking, and what truly happens to these girls. It is a call to action, if one has the heart and means to listen and respond. Sold is a story that is bound to make a difference for everyone who reads it, which in turn might cause a ripple effect and make a difference for those caught in the throes of human trafficking. 

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I do hope you’ll make time to read Sold, and that it will inspire you to reach out in even the smallest of ways to help these young girls and many others like them. These are the stories with the ability to change our lives, if only we will let them. 

M. J.

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Photo credit: KVDP, Trafficking of Women, Children & Men (2012), CCA - Share Alike 3.0 License