"Trafficked" -- A Novel by Kim Purcell

A Young Adult Book Review

Book Cover: Trafficked by Kim PurcellIn Trafficked, 17-year old Hannah, whose parents were killed in a terrorist bombing, had to quit school after 11th grade to help her babushka (grandma) make and sell carrot salad at the market to support them. She had been one of the smartest girls in school, and this was not the bright future she had envisioned for herself. To make matters worse, her boyfriend, Daniil had just dumped her because he wanted to be with someone who had loftier goals for the future. When she was given the opportunity to go to America and work as a nanny by a glamorous agent named Olga, Hannah jumped on it. She would be able to make money to pay for an operation that her babushka needed. In America, she could learn English, go back to school, and become a doctor, just like she had always dreamed. Her parents would have been so proud, and she would really show Daniil!

Before leaving her home country of Moldova to travel to Romania by bus, and then fly to Los Angeles, she packed up her few belongings, then went out for pizza one last time with her best friend Katya. Katya begged Hannah not to go. Others said that she was too naive to go to America. They had all seen the PSAs with a picture of a woman twisting and writhing, held by a giant hand, that declared "You are not a product." Women from Moldova were often trafficked, bought and sold as commodities on the black market, but Hannah did not believe that this tragic fate would be hers. Katya was just jealous, she thought. Also, Katya didn't want her to leave because she would miss her. Hannah would miss her best friend too, but she didn't let that stop her from getting on the bus that would take her to a better life. . .

After her bad experience with another agent in Romania, Hannah wasn't quite so sure anymore, but she couldn't turn back now. She had to prove everyone at home wrong. Plus, the agent had taken away her passport and replaced it with fake Russian documents, so she didn't even know if she could get back home. Hannah continued on to Los Angeles, but her new life in America wasn't what she expected. In fact, it wasn't at all like any of the American movies she had seen that took place in L.A. Read the book to find out what happened to Hannah, and how she persevered through it all.

While Hannah and her story are fictional, many young people all over the world are trafficked and sold into slavery (up to 2 million people each year). Thousands of victims of human trafficking end up right here in the United States. If you've been inspired by this book, visit the author's website to learn more about how you can help trafficked teens (kimpurcell.com).

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