Human trafficking is one of the most covert, nightmarish occurrences of modern society.
Trafficked, a novel by Kim Purcell, dives into the calamity head-on, as 17-year-old Hannah is sold into trafficking without the slightest clue of her fate. Hailing from the European country of Moldova roughly a year after the death of both her parents, Hannah finds herself flying to America, in hopes of a better way of life following the tragedies of her terrorism-struck country. However, the hopeful dreams associated with the American Dream quickly fade upon her arrival in the States. The family that has “hired” her has actually enlisted her a slave, nullifying her ability to make contact with the outside world, her family, or anyone who could help her escape the Russian family that bought and detained her. Trafficked follows the life of Hannah as she discovers her role in a foreign world, where her body is made currency and without chance for buy-out.
The themes that resonate with Trafficked are predominantly immigration and human trafficking. However, the novel portrays the very real issue of human trafficking through a unique lens. For example, human trafficking is often though of as occurring to girls and women in countries outside of the US; in Trafficked, human trafficking is exemplified in Los Angeles, California. Hannah is also bought by a Russian family living in the United States, who adds an additional layer of interest to her role in the novel, especially as it pertains to the nature of American immigrants. Additionally, the victims of human trafficking are historically girls and women of color, which brings about a contentious aspect of the novel. In portraying a victim of human trafficking as being a white girl in the United States, it offers a unique perspective, but arguably silences the narratives of the marginalized groups that human trafficking most commonly targets. That being said, Trafficked divulges a viewpoint that catalyzes animated ideas and conversations pertaining to race, culture, politics, and female identity.
Trafficked proffers a portrayal of a normal girl who takes a risk to better her way of life. Regardless of outcome, Hannah exemplifies anyone willing to emigrate for the chance to be something greater than they could be in their native country. Because of Hannah’s unique role in the the canon of human trafficking, Trafficked would be an excellent story for any adolescent reader interested in the trials of immigration and/or modern slavery.
By Thea Monje
Purcell, Kim. Trafficked. New York: Speak, 2013. Print.