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

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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  414 Ratings  ·  51 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 ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 23rd 2010 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Josephine
Jan 26, 2011 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sarah
Nov 26, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna Stewart McCall
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.
Christina
Apr 08, 2010 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Megan Perry
This book took me a long time to read for several reasons. The material is often emotionally difficult, the writing is very dense, and it's very dry. It did a good job of making the case that human trafficking is about a lot more than sex trafficking. The cases of labor trafficking are every bit as heart breaking. It was eye-opening and jarring to learn of two cases of agricultural slavery that occurred within 15 miles of my house. There is a lot of good information in the book and at the end, t ...more
Glen Stott
May 21, 2013 Glen Stott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan
May 14, 2012 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Resa Boydston
Jan 30, 2011 Resa Boydston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you want a true look at human trafficking and want the cold hard truth...read 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!!
Loraine
Apr 15, 2012 Loraine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Vicki
Oct 09, 2013 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one from the United Methodist Women's reading list. Not an easy read but great info and lots to think about - including whether or not to shop in certain stores and things we see and might not notice!
Alex
Jan 02, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Susan Jones
Feb 15, 2016 Susan Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jamie
Aug 03, 2010 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David
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
Nora
Jul 02, 2009 Nora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Val
May 05, 2013 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Noah Larks
This book was really interesting. I never thought that slavery in america today was this bad. It me cry a bit because of the terrible thing that happen tho these innocent human beings. These people come to our country to get a job to support their families but are used and abused. The women come here to work but are used as prostitutes and house workers. The young girls are also used as prostitutes as well. They are also under the constant threat of being beaten or raped. They'er forced to work ...more
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
Ed
Jul 16, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jessica Woodbury
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
Patty
May 16, 2014 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Rebecca Shields
May 07, 2014 Rebecca Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tandra
Nov 28, 2016 Tandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this for background information on a novel I'm currently working on. It was both heartbreaking and insightful, and jam-packed with information. It also included a piece on trafficking that has and continues to occur just down the road from me, in the Immokalee, Florida area, so it really hit home. I didn't really touch on pornography's role in trafficking, which my novel does, but it was still very useful. A good look at a problem we thought we solved almost two centuries ago.
Diane Secchiaroli
Jan 17, 2014 Diane Secchiaroli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Katherine
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).
Diane
Aug 11, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jennifer
Oct 04, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Thomas Ray
Jan 23, 2016 Thomas Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Edward Baldwin
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.)
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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
More about Kevin Bales...

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