30 June 2012

Willow Reads: Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

When Sophie Hayes met Kas she knew he'd change her life – but she had no idea how much. At first, it was a typical whirlwind romance. But one day Kas told her that love always comes at a price ...

Kas tricked Sophie into travelling to Italy, where he forced her to sell her body to help him pay off a debt. Terrified and ashamed, Sophie worked the dangerous Italian streets without rest, seeing as many as 30 clients in a night. She was completely at Bledi′s mercy for food, clothes and shelter. And without money, friends or family, she was trapped.

But Sophie found the strength to keep going, clinging to life by a single thread of hope: that somehow she′d find a way to escape.

Spoiler Alert right here.

Title: Trafficked: The True Story of a British Girl Forced into the Sex Trade
Author: Sophie Hayes
Page Count: 308
Published: January 19, 2012
Source: Goodreads suggestion

I don't normally read nonfiction books, but for this I had to. I know situations like these happen all the time, regardless of age, height, weight, gender, or any number of other characteristics. I wanted to read about this situation from the eyes of a survivor, and therefore I discovered this book. 

Sophie Hayes had a rough childhood. She had an abusive father, which caused all these trust issues for her as she grew into a young woman. After her graduation from high school, she decided to go straight to work instead of gaining a higher education at the university level.  

Once she gets a job and her own flat, Sophie begins to struggle through the new feeling of being alone and away from home for the first time- that's normal. But eventually she finds friends through work, as well as old friends coming to where she lives after they graduate, and gets a boyfriend. When her first relationship doesn't work out, they're just going through the motions, Sophie has several run-ins with this Kas guy. She avoids him for the moment, but eventually they become best friends. After a few years of talking on the phone and texting, Kas decides to invite Sophie away on this weekend in Spain- just because she needed a break and that's what friends do. She enjoys herself with her friend, and eventually has to go home.

Soon after, Kas invites her to Italy for a week to see where and how he lives. 

"So perhaps it was time to consider the possibility that not all men were like my father and to trust Kas, too. 
It was a decision that was to change everything, forever."
-Sophie, Chapter 4
From then on, Sophie is forced into sex slavery. It happens the night after she and Kas sleep together and she, for once, really lets her guard down.  He insists that she must do this to pay him back for the years of friendship and his personal sacrifices to her. He also claims that there is no other way to pay this debt he has, besides forcing her to do this; she was the only one he could trust. Though Sophie is in a little bit of denial at first, it wares off fast, as Kas threatens her family- most of the time, her brothers.

"Well, if you love someone, you have to make sacrifices for them. We all have to make sacrifices for the people we love, and that's why I asked you to come here: because there's something you can do for me. There's a sacrifice you can make to show me you love me." 
-Kas, Chapter 5 
Throughout this entire book, I was amazed at what Sophie put up with. She was constantly in fear, but she was so strong. Sophie was strong and she was smart, and in her situation not everyone would have done the things she did- but she did everything as right as she could. One quote that struck me a lot:

"For a moment, I felt almost a sense of pleasure, because instead of shouting at me or hitting me, or looking at me with cold, cruel disgust as he'd done so many times during the past 24 hours, he'd praised me, which meant that I'd finally managed to do something right- even if it didn't feel right to me at all."
-Sophie, Chapter 6 

Sophie was so invested in doing things right that she felt happy at doing something right in Kas' eyes. Kas was so abusive to her constantly, all the signs of an abusive relationship are there, and if she did one thing he thought was wrong- wack, smack, hit, beat, bruise. It was sad to read about, and so difficult to imagine. 

Enduring this type of pain shouldn't even be a part of someone's life. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, or they've been raped, or they've been forced into sex trafficking, get help. At the end of Sophie's book, she listed some UK resources:

Sophie Hayes Foundation- www.sophiehayesfoundation.org 
Police Emergency- 999
Crime Stoppers- 0800-555-111
Salvation army- 020-7367-4500 
UK Human Trafficking Centre- 0114- 2523891

Phone: +44 (0)207 921 4258
email: info@stopthetraffik.org
website: www.stopthetraffik.org

William Wilberforce Trust-
Phone: +44 (0)207 052 0336
email: info@williamwilberforcetrust.org.uk
website: www.williamwilberforcetrust.org.uk
Here's a resource for those in the US, brought to me by a simple google search:

Polaris Project-

You can also contact the police in any city of any state. 

Here's some information about the rights of the trafficked-


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