I just finished reading Sold by Patricia McCormick. The story is about a Nepalese girl—13-year-old Lakshmi—who leaves home thinking she will be working to support her desperately poor family. In reality she has been sold into the sexual slave trade and is taken far away from anything that is relevant to her. A fictional tale of a very real event, Sold is an important book that sheds light on how easily girls can be lured away from their families and into situations from which it is difficult for them to escape.
To research her story, McCormick traveled to the countries of India and Nepal, and she interviewed the women living in Calcutta’s red-light district, as well as girls who had been rescued from sexual slavery. As the mother of two daughters, I think it’s important for them to know that cases like these are not isolated, and sexual slavery occurs all over the world, even in the U.S.
Sold has recently been released in paperback, and I believe it would make for a very interesting discussion with a mother-daughter book club. The scenes of Lakshmi’s life before she leaves home are bittersweet as well as enlightening about what life is like for the people who live in the villages of Nepal. And Lakshmi is as innocent as you might expect any girl her age to be. Her voice rings true throughout the book; she’s a very real character.
A non-fiction book I recently read on this topic called Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It by David Batstone makes a great companion to Sold. Batstone tells of organizations in many different countries that are fighting this horrific practice, and gives ideas for what each of us can do to help support them.