by Sebel Hodge
If you know me at all, you realize this book is outside my usual genre of Christian Non-Fiction, but it's good to break out of the box sometimes. This short novella (96 pages) is FICTION - which I'm glad I knew before I started - but based factual events and testimonials from real sex slaves/prostituted persons, and the author's research on human trafficking.
As my husband and several dear friends travel to India in less than two weeks, this book was relevant to my life at this time. Though painful to read because I know the reality of what she wrote is genuine, I also couldn't put it down. This short fictional novella could be real. Is real for girls and women all around the world, in more alarming statistics than you can wrap your brain around. And in a couple weeks, our India team could have to opportunity to encounter young women just like the character in this book, Elena. Reading this book helped me know how to pray a little better.
Written in diary format, counting the days of her captivity, 22-year-old Elena recounts the horrors committed against her body, soul, and mind from the time she's conned, drugged, kidnapped, and sold by a "friend of a friend" who promised her honest work in Italy. Hodge strikes a wise balance between giving shocking details and leaving certain graphic particulars for the reader to fill in. You'll find a few realistic expletives in this book that I don't normally like to read or recommend, but I'll make an exception for this because ... at some point I need to look at what is really happening, stop hiding my eyes from evil, and fight it. The novella continues as Elena is brutalized, raped repeatedly by her captors and their clients, and sold to different pimps under filthier circumstances when she tries to escape. One day, barely holding onto the will to live, she comes up with a plan that just might give her some hope to see her daughter and freedom once more ...
Hope is precious. You know that if you've ever run short of it. For these girls (some of them as young as 9) and women, their only hope is someone who will go to them with compassionate love, fight for them, and share Christ with them. He is the only Hope that will do. His miracles the only way they'll ever escape the prison of their existence.
I recommend this book for anyone who cares to plunge into the knowledge of good and evil, and when you finish it - you won't have a choice - you'll have to struggle to the surface of the sludge, pull yourself back ashore of your beautiful life, thank the Lord for His fortunate favor, and then do something about it.
For more information, awareness, and opportunities to fight this evil, please join me tomorrow for my first Exodus Road post. I'm so excited!