Book Reviews

Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking in America {Book Review}

Over the last three years, my heart has been broken in a greater way concerning issues of Justice.  One area in particular has gripped my heart with such sadness that I want to do everything in my power to bring awareness and help bring an end it to.  That is the area of Human Trafficking.

When I was presented with the opportunity to review “Rescuing Hope:  A Story of Sex Trafficking in America” by Susan Norris, I knew I could not say no.  To think that girls as young as my own daughters, or younger, are taken and stripped of their innocence while being held captive and sold for sex is something I can hardly think about.

Every two minutes, evil strips innocence from a child and sells her into slavery. For sex. Not in a third world country, but in America.  Before you take another breath, the next victim will be taken or tricked from her family by a profit-hungry criminal. She could be a neighbor. A friend. Your sister. Your daughter.

I have been crying out for God to “break my heart for what breaks His”.  This book did just that.  Although not a true story, it is a vivid account of what happens to so many young, innocent girls in this country every day. Up until about three years ago, I did not fully grasp the reality of sex trafficking in my own country.  I always thought it only happened in some far off, distant land, where people suffered in immense poverty and where parents felt they had no choice but to sell their children as a matter of survival.  But as I read this book, my heart was gripped by the severity of sex trafficking right here in the United States.  As a matter of fact, three years ago while I attended a summit on Human Trafficking in my home town, a house was raided and four girls were rescued.  This happened in my own backyard, literally blocks from where I live.

At fourteen, Hope Ellis is the all-American girl with a good life—until the day she tries to help her mom with their cross-town move by supervising the movers. When they finish, one of the men returns to the house and rapes her. Held silent by his threats, darkness begins to engulf her. But the rape proves to be the least of Hope’s troubles. In a gasping attempt at normalcy, she succumbs to the attention of a smooth-talking man on the subway. He promises acceptance. He declares his love. He lures her out from under the shelter of her suburban life.  Hope’s disappearance sets a community in motion. She’s one of their own. They determine to find Hope, whatever the cost, before she’s lost forever.  Will you?

My eyes have been opened to how easily young girls can be lured away by men who desire to fulfill the supply and demand of sex for sale.  Human Trafficking is an overwhelming issue, but together, we can bring awareness and help to make a difference.  In the back of the book, the author lists several organizations that you can get involved with to do your part.

Overall, this is a gripping book which will open your eyes to the heart-wrenching truth of Human Trafficking in the United States.  A word of caution for parents:  This is not a book that I would allow a young teen to read.  It shares very real accounts of rape and sex, and although it’s not racey by any means, I would recommend reading it first and making the right determination for your child.

Has your heart been broken for the issue of human trafficking?  Please share our experience in the comments below.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

*This post is part of a challenge to blog every weekday in the month of April.  You can read more about it here.

Book Reviews

When You’re Not Called To Adopt {Orphan Justice Review}

Over the last several years, God has been awakening my heart to causes of social justice, including orphans.  At one time in my life, I thought I would adopt.  Although that hasn’t happened for me, I know that the cause of the orphan is something that I must be involved in.  It’s an issue that everyone must be involved in, in one way or another.

“Adoption is not for everyone, but caring for orphans is for everyone.” – Orphan Justice.

This past month, I was honored to have received a copy of Johnny Carr’s book, “Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adoption”.  It’s a book that I knew I had to read. As I did, my heart broke as I was challenged and convicted in many ways.  Acccording to UNICEF, there are 153 Million orphans worldwide.  That is an astounding number. The cause of the orphan is a much bigger issue than being fatherless — it is linked with human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, poverty, racism and abortion.  Together, all of these issue assist in the growing number of orphans each and every day. 

“Indeed, caring for orphaned and vulnerable children requires us to care about related issues from child trafficking and HIV/AIDS to racism and poverty.  Too often, we only discuss or theologize the issues, relegating the responsibilities to governments.” – Orphan Justice

My heart breaks for these children, yet at times I feel as if the issue is so much bigger than I am.  And it is.  But it’s not too big for God.  In his book, Johnny talks openly and honestly about what Christians can do, especially those who do not feel led to adopt.

“If we were honest, many of us would have to admit that we have no clue how to respond, beyond well-meaning prayer or writing a check.” – Orphan Justice

He also talks about how the Church, the Body of Christ, must step up to assist in the cause of the orphan.  It’s not just a nice gesture, but it’s a mandate from God.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.  (James 1:27 NLT)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.  (Psalm 82:3)

Overall, this is a very thought provoking book that will cause you to ask God, “What is it you’ve called me to do?”  My prayer is that God would continue to break my heart for the cause of the orphan and show me creative ways that I can get involved.

How about you, my friend. How does the cause of the orphan move on your heart? I’d love for you to share in the comments.

*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. 

*This post is part of a challenge to blog every weekday in the month of April.  You can read more about it here.