The following is a review of a book that was given me as part of the ChristianAudio.com reviewers program:
Many of us have heard the horrible stories of human trafficking in foreign countries. When I lived in Korea, I heard many times that such things happened to impoverished Russian girls who were being brought to Asian countries, and of course I heard of the horrible sex industry that enslaves so many in Thailand. But I had read and heard little of such an industry in the US.
In Theresa Flores’ book, The Slave Across the Street, we read an autobiographical account of an upper middle class, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who was enslaved, not in a foreign country, but in suburbia. This girl was not kidnapped and driven to a far off city, but rather found herself in what she believed to be an inescapable situation while still living under her own parents’ roof, and her parents knew nothing of what was going on.
This book is eye-opening and chilling. It is certainly too easy for those of us who are living comfortably to fail to realize that there are those around us who are going through unthinkable horrors. Hopefully readers of this book will better pray for and watch for those who are suffering in ways that they cannot imagine. Perhaps readers will even be more willing to offer help to someone who looks to be going through hardships and suffering instead of turning the other way.
This text is very difficult to read. The author is not gratuitous in her descriptions of what happened to her, but her descriptions are still gut wrenching. I know of many people who emotionally should not read accounts of such horrors.
Also, the weakest part of the book by far is the part which has it being sold on the shelves of Christian bookstores. Flores’ spiritual explanation of how she survived her ordeal does not mesh with orthodox Christianity. She talks about angelic energies surrounding her, protecting her, healing her. While I do not think many will read this book to develop a theology of angels, God’s presence, or soul healing, it is important to know that this lady is offering her impressions of what she felt was spiritually happening, not a biblically sound treatise on the matter.
I can only partially recommend this work. It was good for me to read, as it certainly caused me to think about the dangers that can exist in our world that many of us do not see. At the same time, not all people need to read such a graphic account of sexual violence perpetrated on a young girl. If you need to be awakened to the fact that people are suffering in ways you have never imagined, if you need to become more aware of other kinds of suffering around you so that you can be drawn to watch better and help more, you could give this book a try. If you cannot emotionally handle such an ugly story or are the kind of person who continues to dwell on gory details of sadness, let this book pass and do some more sterilized research on the world of human trafficking, even in the US.