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review 2017-04-06 13:50
The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade - Victor Malarek

A more harrowing book I can hardly imagine and yet it's such an important book. How many of us truly understand the vast, interwoven complexity of the international corruption and collusion into the human trafficking trade? How many of us understand that although some women enter the sex trade willingly, thousands upon thousands (yes, that's the kind of numbers we're dealing with here), are kidnapped, repeatedly raped, beaten and murdered... in fact, many of the women who work in strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels and hotels/motels worldwide? How many of us understand the hypocrisy of ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel lining up to abuse sex slaves while denouncing these same women as subhuman, not worth defending? Or members of the high-ranking UN peacekeeping forces (Canadian, American, French, German...) in Bosnia-Herzegovina sent in to help rebuild after the war, being frequent visitors to slave-populated brothels? Or these same UN peacekeepers shutting down investigation after investigation?


Kirkus reviews says:

"Canadian broadcast journalist Malarek exposes the international traffic in sex slavery.

He begins with the graphic story of a young Ukrainian woman smuggled into Israel and sold as a prostitute. Her story, he claims, is typical of the new traffic in Eastern European women who, lured abroad with the promise of lucrative jobs, are forced into prostitution. The collapse of the Soviet Union has left the economies of its constituent republics in shambles; organized crime is in the driver’s seat, and an attractive young woman can be sold for $10,000 or more in some of the countries where the sex trade flourishes. Malarek goes on to detail the gruesome realities of the traffic in human bodies, some as young as 12. The women are held prisoner, beaten, tortured, even murdered if they fail to satisfy their customers, typically ten or more men a night. They are found in almost every nation of Europe, the Middle East, and America, though the trade flourishes especially in areas like the former Yugoslav republics, where the institutions of government are precarious and occupying armies provide a nucleus of customers. The women can look for no help from law enforcement, which is simply bribed (typically with freebies) to look the other way. The US cannot feel superior; despite its lip service to fighting the sex trade, some of the most brutal brothels are in camp towns just outside its bases all over the world, and the military authorities turn a blind eye to them. Malarek interviews people from several of the groups working to fight the traffic, third only to guns and drugs as a cash cow for organized crime. His conclusion is straightforward, if not encouraging: only a genuine effort by all parties can bring an end to sexual slavery.

A scathing indictment."


That it is, and we can't afford either to look away or refuse to help.

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review 2013-10-31 05:39
Review: The Prostitution of Women and Girls by R. Barri Flowers
The Prostitution of Women and Girls - R. Barri Flowers

This book is a tedious read. I had to read it in chunks with large breaks between each. I am not all that impressed. In fact, I think the author was more impressed than I, the reader, as he tries time and time again to give a shock effect with the data. Mind you, the data is shocking, but the style of writing and the tone of Flowers is flat that I was just blasé sometimes. Or perhaps it is because of the far superior book I had read previous to this one: Sex for Sale (a collection of well researched academic essays), which is more comprehensive and up to date, although not as well focused on the prostitution of minors.


The book is divided into five main parts, each with it's own subsections.

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review 2012-09-19 00:00
The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade - Victor Malarek Have to wonder why Malarek doesn't offer as much insight into Canada as he does the other countries, but still a powerful read. Should be read with Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, which offers hard detail. Malarek's is less econmically based but does present much infromation and detail. Malarek also focuses on one group as well as lesser known trafficking areas. I also liked the section about Kosovo, espcially since I had recently seen the Whistleblower.
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review 2008-01-01 00:00
Invisible Trade: High-class sex for sale in Singapore - Gerrie Lim SingaporeIn the 1970's, the bookstore in my community had a section on sexuality that included a curious mix of useful books such as Our Bodies, Ourselves and fare with pseudo-scientific titles that was intended for titillation, not edification. Invisible Trade: High-class Sex for Sale in Singapore can't quite decide which of these categories it falls into. It has moments, and even whole sections, that are informative, thought-provoking, and very interesting. These are, however, embedded in a matrix of writing that seems intended to be sexually provocative. While some have praised Lim for letting the women and men of this narrative speak directly, their statements do not ring true. Instead, they sound like the fake confessional statements I recognize from my furtive adolescent reading of books like The Happy Hooker. Lim attempts an objective tone, but a certain men's magazine smarminess still pervades the work. For the reader who is paying attention to social justice issues, the correlation between economic necessity and voluntary prostitution is obvious. Lim glosses over this, but devotes much time to pop psychological explanations for at least some aspects of both prostitution and paying for sex, particularly when it's not vanilla. I was frustrated that this could have been a book about differences in prostitution between countries where it is legal and illegal, but instead was generally stale and superficial. There may be reasons to read this, but do pair it with Louise Brown's Sex Slaves: The Trafficking of Women in Asia for the broader context of involuntary sexual labor.
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