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The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
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The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  367 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
In this riveting book, authors and authorities on modern day slavery Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter expose the disturbing phenomenon of human trafficking and slavery that exists now in the United States.

In The Slave Next Door we find that slaves are all around us, hidden in plain sight: the dishwasher in the kitchen of the neighborhood restaurant, the kids on the corner se
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 18th 2009 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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May 20, 2011 Josephine rated it really liked it
Have any of you ever been approached by a deaf mute who’d hand you a card that said they were deaf and in need of some money?

I remember it used to happen all the time when I was in university — every now and again, someone who’d look homeless would wind up wandering through the cafeteria, wordlessly handing out these cards.

I never really used to think anything of it until I read this book, where Bales and Soodalter described a case where a family-run human trafficking ring smuggled in deaf Mexic
Nov 30, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
Definitely a frustrating book. While I think it is an important book for raising awareness it paints a very narrow picture of human trafficking and the form it takes in the US. I would caution folks to question the validity of some of the authors' claims. (Ask yourself, where did they get those numbers). As someone who works in the area of trafficking and forced labor internationally, I can assure that while the cases the authors present are undoubtedly not fictitious, they are hardly representa ...more
Apr 08, 2010 Christina rated it really liked it
So I read this for my paper on human trafficking. Definitely not something I would pick up for pleasure because let's face it, human trafficking is depressing. This book was very well done. Informative. Interesting. Horrific at times, but everyone needs to know the reality of slavery in America today.
Jul 09, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok
This book had some heartbreaking stories and I learned more about human trafficking, but this book had some serious organization flaws. It seemed to jump from place to place in a seeming random order and contained way too much specialized information for the average reader, such as lists of the various NGOs currently working to stop human trafficking and their specific strengths and flaws. I think it could be condensed into an essay and would be much more effective at making the general populati ...more
Susan Jones
Feb 15, 2016 Susan Jones rated it really liked it
If all we can see when we hear the word slave is a picture from Gone with the Wind, our eyes will be shut to the slave of the present. We don 19t think of singers and acrobats who come to our country to perform for us as slaves; but we need to think again. It happens more often than we think. How can this happen in a country who holds their morality so high? Not everyone living here has high moral standards. Those who have no problem destroying lives have no problem destroying the earth. The who ...more
Anna Stewart McCall
Apr 12, 2013 Anna Stewart McCall rated it liked it
Modern slavery and human trafficking are subjects that are near and dear to my heart. Author Kevin Bales is the head of the anti-slavery organization "Free the Slaves," so this book was a natural to go in my reading queue. The information cuts you right to the bone, but the writing is difficult to stay with. Bales is many things, but a writer he is not. You might do just as well to go to the Free the Slaves website and get the information dry.
Resa Boydston
Feb 28, 2011 Resa Boydston rated it it was amazing
if you want a true look at human trafficking and want the cold hard this book. I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Bales at Washburn University a couple years ago. Let me tell you, fellow readers...he is AMAZING!! READ ALL OF HIS BOOKS!!
Apr 25, 2012 Loraine rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-complete
I tried to read this book as it is on our current reading list for our church women's group. It is heavily in to statistics and agencies and I gave up after about 15 pages and skimming through the remainder to see if it was any different.
Jan 02, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best overviews to human trafficking that I have encountered--well written, compassionate, informative, and readable. I wish I could give a copy to every single person I know.
Jul 15, 2013 Val rated it really liked it
Wow this book was eye opening!! And scary!!! I didn't finish the book before book club and though I had every intention of finishing it, I just didn't and finally returned it to the library. I am left wondering at every farm and produce I come in contact with what the working conditions are. I live across from a farm and wonder. My handyman has two Mexicans that do ALL the work. I have seen him sit in his truck and sleep while they build fences, sit in the truck and text while they fix a roof, c ...more
Feb 22, 2010 Nora rated it it was amazing
Shelves: refugees, non-fiction
This was probably the best non-fiction book I have read in a long time. I admit I'm biased because the issue is adjacent to the ones I work on and is one I was prejudiced to be interested in. (They even interview several people I've worked with, including an LIRS colleague.)

But I don't think I fully understood the relationships and differences between sex work and trafficking, native-born American vs. immigrant victims. It was absolutely fascinating - illustrating all of the ways this abominati
Glen Stott
May 28, 2013 Glen Stott rated it really liked it
Shelves: research, biography
In this autobiography Theresa is pulled into human sexual trafficking shortly before her sixteenth birthday. A boy she trusts invites her to his house where he rapes her. His cousins are there, and they photograph it all. Theresa is told she can “earn” the pictures back, and if she doesn’t, copies will be sent to her family, her father’s boss, and will be spread around the high school. The more she tries to earn them back, the deeper she descends into an indescribable hell. She is regularly put ...more
This book differs from other books about modern day slavery in that it focuses solely on America. In reading other books one could almost get the impression that human trafficking is an issue far away and disconnected from us here in the US. Of course, the books I have seen do speak of the slave trade's affect on the US for a chapter or two. But here the central focus is on slavery in America. For that reason, I highly recommend this book. Anyone American who reads this book will be confronted w ...more
Sep 01, 2010 Jamie rated it liked it
I chose this book from a a cartful of new books because, well, the title and cover photo and book cover blurb caught my interest. After all, who thinks about slaves in American society today? I've read about tomato laborers in Florida who get locked up in trailers, and foreign women tricked into becoming sex slaves, but this book is a real eye-opener. The first half of it is very readable and shocking. It discusses domestic slavery, labor slaves, and sex slaves and includes many anecdotes that w ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing
Ok, for the people that care about numbers and accuracy: sorry, there are no real "numbers" only estimates. Do numbers matter? I don't think so. What matters more is that we let this crime against humanity continue virtually unchecked.

I've chosen to advocate for Sara Kruzan as a way of shining light on all cases of commercial child exploitation. Nay-sayers point to the fact that Sara took money and GG's car after she killed him (GG was the pedophile pimp that molested, groomed and prostituted S
Peter Brennan
The slave next door was a very interesting book that allows the reader to become an expert on modern day slavery. Focusing mainly on the United States it shows how slaves come to be, what a slave does, and how to free/prevent slavery. Through the use of personal stories that are easy to relate to and startling statistics, The Slave Next Door truly educates you on the issue. It also shows, through research, how slavery can be prevented, and lays out a whole plan on how to achieve this. But beware ...more
Thomas Ray
Jan 23, 2016 Thomas Ray rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
The U.S. government is complicit in the abuse of workers, bringing them into the country on A-3, G-5, B-1, and J-1 visas, that tie workers to individual employers, and give the workers few rights and fewer protections. Agriculture, domestic work, any low wage occupation traps thousands of people in slavery.
Jessica Woodbury
Aug 17, 2012 Jessica Woodbury rated it it was amazing
People who know me well know that modern day slavery is something I have studied quite a bit both in and out of my school experience. I loved this book in that it helps unveil modern slavery close to home, in the United States. Many individuals are shocked that this could be occurring here, and I think it is critical that more people understand its prevalence, ideas of what it may look like, how to spot it, and what you can do about it. Kevin Bales teaches these things throughout the book, mostl ...more
Edward Baldwin
May 13, 2014 Edward Baldwin rated it liked it
Highly interesting information, but the writer really bogs you down with jargon about policies and politics and bureaucracy and the like. It reads like a lengthy proposal being presented before a panel of distinguished politicians at times. (Like, most of the time.)
Jun 29, 2014 Patty rated it liked it
Having taken an interest in learning more about human trafficking and slavery lately, I thought this book would be a good reference for learning more about it. It was fairly informational and enlightening but about halfway through the book the authors started focusing entirely on the federal government and different agencies that have responsibilities in stopping trafficking and it literally put me to sleep. I understand that different agencies have different roles to play and respond in various ...more
Diane Secchiaroli
Jan 17, 2014 Diane Secchiaroli rated it really liked it
Disturbing biography about human trafficking in an upper class neighborhood. One woman's story about how she got pulled into becoming a sex slave for over two years while attending high school. How no one took the initiative to find out what was really going on. Every parent should be required to read this book along with professionals who deal with mkddle school & high school kids. Very disturbing.
May 04, 2014 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: miscellaneous
While I only gave this book 3 stars it is worth reading to educate yourself about modern day slavery. It is eye opening and will make you want to do something.
Bekki Fahrer
Sep 03, 2014 Bekki Fahrer rated it really liked it
Shelves: grad-school
I am glad I read disposable people first. That is a superior book to this one, but we need to be aware of how bad the situation in the U.S. is.
Rebecca Goldberg
Aug 02, 2014 Rebecca Goldberg rated it really liked it
This is a subject I have a good amount of knowledge on and I found the book to be very informative. While I liked the mixture of case examples and policy, I think adding more cases would have been beneficial to the book so that the factual information would not severely overshadow the humanistic aspect of the book. The policy information tended to be repetitive and I noticed that the same facts were often stated in different chapters. Overall, I still regard this book highly as it is one of the ...more
Susan Bazzett-griffith
This was a difficult book to read and is a difficult one to "review". I did learn quite a bit reading the book, but it was definitely more informational about governmental policy than I had thought it would be, and that made it, especially in the updated introduction and then most of the middle of the book, a very dry informational read. That said, there are definite stories in this book that need to be read, to be acknowledged, and to be learned about if you are someone who cares about human ex ...more
May 14, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
Very informative. Gave me lots of new ideas and perspective for how I can get involved; what to do and not do. I am more motivated to take legitimate action from reading this.
Jul 04, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Five stars as an educational tool (would make an EXCELLENT supplemental text for a sociology course); two stars for casual reading. Full of fascinating tidbits but frankly completely overwhelming on the whole. Read the chapter on the building of the newest U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the rebuilding of the Gulf Cost after Hurricane Katrina to become completely disgusted with Halliburton and the fact that your tax dollars supported literal slave labor while making Dick Cheney rich(er).
Aug 15, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! Covers all aspects of modern-day slavery issues - physical labor, nannies, restaurant workers, foreign sweatshops, housekeepers, sex slaves, etc. Gives hotline info, police training recommendations & law enforcement, government agencies' involvement, as well as instructing the average citizen regarding what to watch for and how to become involved in our own neighborhoods and communities. This is an eye-opening expose on this subject and I highly recommend it!
Dec 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is an important topic and social crisis that needs to be acknowledge, discussed and addressed on a global level. More people live in slavery today then ever before in the history of the world and that includes in American. This is also our dirty little secret that needs to brought out into the light. By reading this book and becoming informed we are doing something -- we are not powerless to stop this pervasive evil, this is a first step.
Aug 06, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: slaves-civil-war
I knew about some of these cases. Good bibliography but when I actually pulled up the "supposed" internet site for my closest large city, it seemed more like a huge advertisement sponsored by a local church; nothing I could really work with. Disappointed with that. Made this sound like bla bla bla.
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Why I had to write Blood and Earth ...

For years I traveled the world meeting people in slavery trying to understand the depth and truth of their lives. What I saw, heard, and learned changed me, and led me deeper into the work of ending slavery, but I was missing something important. Where there are slaves, the environment is under assault, forests are being destroyed, endangered species are dying
More about Kevin Bales...

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