A 17-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles.
A modern day slave
In Trafficked, Purcell leads the reader on a no holds barred look into sixteen-year-old Hannah's life. Instead of the comfortable and easy job she was promised, her reality is sixteen hour work days and back breaking housework. Lillian, the mother of the home, turns out to be uncompromising, selfish and verbally (sometimes even physically) abusive. Sergey, the father of the home, is secretive and Hannah is leery about what his intentions with her really are. Trapped in the house, without pay, not allowed to speak English or interact with any other people, Hannah is an island. Who can she turn to for help?
I'm going to admit that there are some very uncomfortable scenes in this book. As I said, Purcell really does show the harsh reality of Hannah's predicament. This is a story that will gut you and might even make you psychically ill at times. The sexual and violent nature of parts of this book, while completely necessary, definitely makes it a difficult read. Hannah's life isn't the easy one she hoped for. She is constantly struggling to just keep her mind and her body intact. The small victories she has in the story, a little sarcastic comment here, a long awaited bus trip there, are a reminder of how isolated and mistreated she really is. Hannah is broken, and this book isn't afraid to show that.
What really impressed me were the layers in Trafficked. Although Hannah is the main focus, there are other characters who are simultaneously fighting their own battles. Maggie and Michael, the two children, are suffering from neglect. Their mother is constantly studying, and it's almost as though her children are an afterthought. A nuisance. They actually end up being the one thing Hannah cares for, despite her situation. Then there is Colin, the boy next door, who is fighting his own battle with his weight, his future and his divorced parents. I thought he was so important because his struggle is put into perspective when compared with Hannah's. My hope is that this will open some teen eyes and help them see that their family lives might not be as bad as they think they are.
Trafficked deals with issues that are well worth knowing about, and it does it in a gritty and realistic way. I'll fully admit that I powered through this book, mostly because I just had to know what happened to Hannah next. Call it rubber-necking if you will. Hannah definitely suffers some atrocities. Still, the way that Purcell expertly weaves so much truth into Hannah's fictional life is amazing. By the time I finished reading I was equal parts angry and saddened. If you are a reader who is okay with a gritty and realistic read, Trafficked is one that is well worth your time.
Trafficked, a look at modern day slavery
I picked up Trafficked because I've been studying human trafficking for some time now. I was glad to see the topic addressed in YA literature, especially since it takes advantage of so many young children and teens each year. Trafficking is not an easy subject to talk about, but it's imperative that we do. Kim Purcell tackled a heart wrenching issue and I commend her for that; but I found myself a little disappointed with its delivery.
This might be because I set my hopes too high, I was expecting a deep and gritty novel about sex and domestic trafficking, and that wasn't what I got. See, inside Trafficked are two different plots: Hannah's experiences as a trafficked worker for the Platonovs, and the mystery behind the circumstances in which she arrived in their home. While both kept me turning the pages, the second seemed to take the focus. This isn't bad, the novel was great and I enjoyed it. It just didn't meet my expectations and I was disappointed. However, I feel like Kim made trafficking more accessible for younger readers by adding in the mystery.
Hannah was an amazing character, incredibly motivated and honest. She was so strong and selfless throughout everything that happened; despite all the abuse and threats she only thought of her grandmother. It was sad following such a lovable and inspiring character. Kim created someone that readers of all ages could connect to and root for making the novel resonate with you. I wanted to see Hannah's happy ending. I wanted to see the Platonovs and Paavo pay for their mistreatment and horrible actions. And to be honest, I wanted to see Hannah beat the crap out of Lillian.
Trafficked is a hard hitting, well researched story that everyone should read. Understandably, there is violence and a handful of sexual scenes so parents of younger readers might want to make sure this one is appropriate for their children. But personally, all of this adds to the novel's impact. Even though it disappointed me in a pretty big way, I still really liked Kim’s message and Hannah’s story.
Hannah is an amazing character that people will fall for
The bad guys are great