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A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  933 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
A Crime So Monstrous paints a stark picture of modern slavery The author infiltrates trafficking networks and slave sales on five continents exposing a flesh trade never before portrayed with such vivid detail
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Free Press (first published March 6th 2008)
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Tara
Aug 26, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Offensive.

I'm unhappy I feel a need to write a scathing review about a book dealing with an issue I care passionately about. But Skinner's book was tremendously offensive, and worse: misleading.

Skinner deliberately shies away from discussing the more insidious forms of slavery, because they do not prove his thesis: neo-conservative evangelicals are working hard behind the scene to eradicate slavery (and we need more neo-conservative policies to end it!) It's shocking that a man could go to Hait
...more
lifelike
Apr 17, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
please read Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy for a brilliant analysis of modern slavery.

not only is kevin bales a better writer, but the content is better.

also, skinner uses the book as a platform to tout his politics. i happen to disagree that slavery will instantly disappear when the government lifts its controls of big business.
Tamora Pierce
Slavery is forced work, under threat of or actual violence, for no pay.

I already knew that slavery exists in our time. I knew it exists as multi-generational debt bondage in India, when one member of a family got a loan, and his grandchildren labor to pay off the much larger amount (there's interest) with no sign of ever getting free. I knew of sexual trafficking in women from eastern Europe and women and children in Thailand, the Philippines, and Mexico. I did not know that the people of southe
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Chris
I heard Skinner speak about an article he wrote on my local NPR's station wonderful, brillant program "Radio Times". Best show in the world. Really.

Skinner's book is an overview of slavery in the modern world, and keep in mind that this isn't chain and sell them type of slavery. Skinner gives his defination earlier in the novel and quite simply illustrates it over the course of his novel. The stories are horrifying and the book is not a feel good.

Because Skinner was writing and researching this
...more
Karina
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Appeals to emotion, which is fine for a book about slavery, but offers little hard data or analysis. Especially annoying is the author's endless description of his own experiences. I did not finish the book. I just don't trust a guy who uses slavery as an excuse to write pages and pages about how brave he was bribing border guards and talking to pimps while posing as a trafficker.
Mary
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it is impossible to top Kevin Bales's book on this topic (Disposable people), and it is apparent that Skinner didn't even try that, and apologised several times throughout for it. This book attempts to break into different territory by making the Americans (policy maker and reader) the real argument of the book, and for someone who doesn't live in America, this is very annoying and tiresome. I found myself rolling my eyes when his hagiography of John Miller started in again, as his polit ...more
Tasmin
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Das Hörbuch ist sehr extrem gekürzt, das war sicherlich nicht einmal die Hälfte des physikalischen Buches. Und ich wollte das Buch jetzt eigentlich nicht noch einmal extra lesen.
Aber was solls - in jedem Fall extrem lehrreich und wichtig. Wieso das nicht mehr beworben wurde, weiß ich auch nicht. Es ist so RELEVANT.
Laura
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are 27 million slaves living in the world today --- more than at any other time in history. In the U.S., 13,000-17,000 slaves are trafficked annually into our country. If you read only one serious book this year, make it this one.
Jason
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All of Humanity
As free citizens in a political democracy, we have a responsibility to be interested and involved in the affairs of the human community, be it at the local or the global level.
Paul Wellstone

Slavery continues today. Skinner concisely defines a slave as a person, forced to work, through threat of force, for no pay beyond subsistence. The scope of modern-day slavery is vast: there are more slaves today than at any other time in human history.

Because of this scope, Skinner spends most of the book f
...more
Петър Стойков
Макар да е интересно да се научи за различните видове принудителен труд (граничещ с робство) днес по света, книгата не предлага почти нищо друго по темата.

Ако очаквате нещо като разследваща журналистика, ще се излъжете жестоко - а ще очаквате, щото точно това подсказва описанието и предговора. Авторът обаче очевидно е прекарал доста малко време в самите държави и не си е давал особено зор да разследва каквото и да е, защото 98% от цялата информация като че идва от официалните сводки на съответни
...more
Catherine Austen
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
My rating is more of a 5 star plus a 2 star. I loved the writing - and I know how shallow that is, and I always feel rightfully like an idiot when I close a book on some important lives-at-stake issue and think, "Jeez, that was well-written," leaving the author who wants to change the world with that little checkmark - but jeez, this was really well-written. So five stars on the writing and the research and a lot of what he says - it's a really good book on the one hand.

But 2 stars on the free
...more
Kyle
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while we're fortunate enough to read a book that truly resonates with whatever we're going through in life. I'm not sure if it's the timing of when I read this book (I'm applying for NGOs and non-profits), but I found the book absolutely amazing. By far, my favorite non-fiction book, and a top 5 book overall for me.

I usually find non-fiction books too dry to digest, but Benjamin Skinner weaves together beautiful story-telling and human trafficking history and facts. Benjamin Skin
...more
Brian
Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author goes undercover to reveal how shockingly easy it is to purchase a fellow human being in many parts of the world. In doing so he reveals some surprising and not-so-surprising facts.

Surprising: There are, literally, millions of slaves in the world today.

Surprising: George Bush has done more than any other American president to combat modern slavery.

Not-So-Surprising: The Bush administration's efforts to fight slavery are completely watered down and the UN is hesitant to even use the te
...more
Valerie
I'm rounding this up to 4 stars from 3.5. While it's important to his ultimate point, I felt like the author spent too much time on the character study of American politicians. At the end of the book, his points on the failure of American politics to adequately address this issue were quite poignant, but I felt they would've carried as much weight without all of the personal back story of the characters involved. Skinner tells the slaves' stories carefully and skillfully, and I appreciated the i ...more
Nichole Lindgren
Mar 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I couldn't even finish this book. I thought this book would bring a voice to those that were being forced into modern day slavery but it was really just the voice of politicians and their life story. Do I really care about how some republican stalked his soon to be wife in order to find out her name and eventually marry her? No. What does that have to do with the tragedy of slavery. Too much politics, although I know that is a part of stopping it, and not enough exposure of the reality that is m ...more
Ked Waterman
It's a gut punch and you should read more books in this topic
Rinku
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an informative book with moving naratives. I am inspired to read more books about modern day slavery to see how I can be a part of ending it.
Lit-Creek
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ever wondered how to buy a slave? Is it even possible these days? Sure is.

Skinner takes you on a short trip to Haiti to buy a child, aged between 8 and 12 for the price of the taxi ride you would have taken to the airport. The employment agent will sort out papers, passport for an additional small fee. You could have your own living child to do whatever you will with. In Haiti they call them restavek, a child labourer.

Skinner has taken investigative journalism and balanced it on a razor thin e
...more
Nicole
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(From my wordpress blog.)

What is slavery? E. Benjamin Skinner explores this question in his book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery. Skinner's offering is a well-written, bold account of his 4-year journey through the underground world of human trafficking and exploitation. He is unflinching in his accounts, and despite what he has seen, brings a voice of compassion and hope to a topic that many people are either unaware of or are only beginning to realize.

Skinner takes
...more
Maggie
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Skinner did a very good job of tackling a tremendously complicated and difficult subject in this book. As he points out, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before, but they represent a smaller percentage of the world’s population than previously. “Slavery is a slippery and confounding evil, and persists despite twelve international conventions banning the slave trade, and over three hundred international treaties banning slavery.” It’s been estimated that there are 27 m ...more
Kathleen Caron
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Skinner’s book “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery,” published in 2009, was not a best seller, although it should have been. If there were any justice in this world, “A Crime So Monstrous” would still be at the top of the best seller lists and “50 Shades of Gray” would be in the remainder bin. I read it recently and it changed the way I look at everything. Did you know that in our enlightened age there are more slaves in the world than at any previous time in his ...more
Julie
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non-fiction on modern slavery and the efforts of the US to fight it in 2000-2008. Four areas are profiled with the US parts between. All in all, interesting and sad, and readable. If you want to know more read below.

Haiti (prior to the earthquake, which makes an already bad situation worse) is profiled with the restaveks, or slave children "stay-withs". Poor families give up their children to wealthier families thinking they will get an education and a better life. These children clean the house
...more
Alex
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book introduced me to the topics of human trafficking and modern day slavery when I read it years ago, and I remember it as a very good introduction. To this day, I remember how many slaves exist, the situation in specific countries, the economic magnitude of slavery, which countries are transit and which are destination countries, and so on. I'm honestly surprised at how much of this book stayed with me over the years.

Another great thing about this book was the writing. Not in the sense th
...more
Frenje
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not sure I'd recommend people to read this book, but I'd definitely recommend people to go read about modern slavery. Skinner does a good job introducing his reader to the different forms of slavery that still exist today, beyond the sex trafficking that most people are now aware of, and get you thinking about how slavery should be defined. Some of these anecdotal accounts were so alien to me, I couldn't help but feel that he must surely have been talking about another age, which I think is ...more
Michael Griswold
A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery is a series of stories spaning Hati, Eastern Europe, India, among other places and eventually ending in Miami with the arrest of someone envolved in the seedy slave trade. This book has two purposes in my eyes : First, it sheds a harsh blinding light on the issue of modern sex slavery and domestic and indentured slavery throughout the world. Secondly through actions and frusterations by John Miller and others connected with the Bush admi ...more
Josephine
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Skinner writes:
“I assume you come from a place where there is an idea that humans have rights,” he added, regaining his composure and kicking at an ashy firepit. “Why does no one care about our slavery here?” (p.103)

I think the simple answer to that is this: a lot of us aren’t aware that slavery still exists.

I didn’t know up until a few months ago, when I started reading every book I could get my hands on about the subject.

Skinner spent four years traveling around the world so he could report fi
...more
Vanessa
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is remarkable that author Benjamin Skinner was able to "bear witness" to the horrors in this book and not go mad/break down in a weeping puddle/take up whatever blunt object he had to hand and bludgeon the crap out of the slavers, traffickers and abusers in this travelogue of Hell on Earth. This is a very difficult book to read, but an important one. I cannot "recommend" it because it is too painful. All I can say is that if you want to find out more about modern day slavery and are ready to ...more
Marcus Tay
Through this book I learnt about the slavery that still exist today, even though the writer writes in short, incomplete sentences that makes it difficult to follow.

However, he is helped by real, unbelievable ( is there such a combination?) of slavery tales that he garnered by travelling deep into action and sometimes even posing as criminals.

Perhaps these few things stuck out at me:

- Why is that product so cheap? Is it because there is someone who is unfairly paid? ( As in the story of Slavery
...more
Sherri Duke
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The human suffering caused by political corruption across the globe is tragic. After five years of interviewing slaves and traffickers, the author provides us with an account that most of us could never begin to imagine.
In interviewing Gonoo, a third generation slave of debt bondage in India, the author asks 1CWhat was the happiest time of your life? 1D
He thought for a minute, and then said: 1CI don 19t understand what you mean by 18happiest 19. 1D
I tried to describe it in terms of joy, but
...more
Donna
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well researched exploration of modern day slavery, its causes, its consequences, and what is being done, or in some cases not done, to combat it. While our politicians and even church leaders are arguing the details of what does and does not constitute slavery 27 million people world wide are still held in bondage. The author travels from Haiti, to Romania, Moldavia, Amsterdam, India, and yes even America, to tell their stories. Though the scholarly research provides credibility it is tho ...more
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“there are more slaves in the world today than ever before, although they represent a smaller percentage of the world’s population than in the past. Widespread calls for abolition, of course, began” 0 likes
“There are more slaves today than at any point in human history.” 0 likes
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