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October 23, 2012

Eye Opening: The Slave Across the Street

The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores
audiobook, Narrated by Renee Raudman
Published: January 2010 by Christian Audio
ISBN13: 9781596448773
Listened: October 2012
Source: Digital Library
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

The subtitle for this book reads "The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking". If you have followed my blog for every long you know that I have read several fictional tales of human trafficking. This is the first time I'm read a true account. It is also the first time I've read a memoir. 

I was afraid that it would be a really emotional story to listen to. It was shocking and eye opening, but I didn't have the emotional response I thought I would. The account is not full of horrific details. Actually the retelling of Theresa's story is only a small portion of the book.

Only a few chapters are devoted to what happened to Theresa. The rest of the book deals with why she decided to tell her story, her brother's point of view of what was happening, a doctor speaks as well as there are a couple of chapters to teachers, parents, law enforcement, and health care professionals on spotting the signs of sexual exploitation and helping the victim.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and it was apt time to be listening to this story. I was aghast at the security guard and teachers who turned a blind eye to what was happening to Theresa. Even if they did not know the extent (the sexual exploitation) there was definitely evidence of bullying. 

Probably the most shocking part of her story was that she was not stolen from her home and it was high school boys (though the ring leader was older, but maybe college age?) who were blackmailing her. 

If you have a child in your life - parent, teacher, live in a neighborhood with kids- you need to read this book. And then have a frank discussion with the kids. From the description of Theresa's personality, it could very well had been me. She had no idea that accepting a ride from a classmate would end in rape and blackmail. It was the 1980s and rape victims were viewed differently than they are today (for the most part). The saddest part of the story was that Theresa was more afraid of disappointing her parents than enduring the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that occurred for 2 years at the hands of a mafia-like gang.

Get this book, open your eyes, and perhaps a life will be saved.

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