‘Trafficked’ is a Gut-Wrenching Thriller

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Editor’s Note: The below review discussed Human Trafficking and the horrific effects it has on children, men and women.

It is not very often that a fiction book set in reality terrifies me the way Peg Brantley’s Trafficked did. Maybe it’s because I have a young daughter, or know many people who have been sexually assaulted, or maybe it’s just the horrifying realization that trafficking happens all the time in the United States. Author Peg Brantley goes out of her way to include important facts about human trafficking and it’s horrifying effects at the start of each chapter, while still telling the story of three young women taken strictly because they can be sold for sex.

In Trafficked, the daughter of a low-income family is kidnapped and taken away from her friend’s house after he sells her to take care of a gambling debt. She is seventeen. The daughter of a wealthy business mogul is drugged and sold to a sadistic billionaire in Mexico. A twelve year-old girl meets a man online who takes her away with promises of love before raping her and then nightly letting other men pay to rape her. Being trafficked is every woman’s worst nightmare. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. The unfortunate thing is that it is a billion-dollar industry and so few women are broken out of the trade until they have been broken mentally and physically. While this is a novel, the girls tell their own stories, mixed in with a detective story involving Brantley’s character Mex Anderson and his crew. To Mex’s credit, he and his whip-smart fiance and associate Cade, do all they can to rescue all three girls and do what they can to get their lives right.  There’s also Darius Johnson, who will do all he can to tell their stories. Every minute that passes means more danger for the girls, and Mex and his crew much do all they can to rescue as many women as possible.

This book is intended to make the reader, or listener in the case of the audiobook, truly understand the gravity of the human trafficking situation. At one point the book intimates that it’s not just girls from other countries, it’s the missing junior high kids at the local school too. I cried listening to this book, and I don’t do that with most books. Even though the three kidnapped girls are fictional, I cried for their lost innocence. I cried for the cruelty of the men who paid them for sex, not caring at all what happens to the girls and boys after they’ve been victimized.  Trafficked is occasionally chaotic with so many narrators, meaning that the reader or listener needs to make sure to pay attention to who is talking, but it pulls you in and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.

The facts at the beginning of each chapter may be hard to take, but Peg Brantley does all she can to both entertain and frighten readers into making a change.

Trafficked by Peg Brantley is now available.

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