Trafficked by Kim Purcell

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Viking, Published by Penguin Group (February 16, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9780670012800
Buy the Book: Amazon

Hannah believes she’s being brought from Moldova to Los Angeles to become a nanny for a Russian family. But her American dream quickly spirals into a nightmare. The Platonovs force Hannah to work sixteen-hour days, won’t let her leave the house, and seem to have a lot of secrets – from Hannah and from each other. Stranded in a foreign land with false documents, no money, and nobody who can help her, Hannah must find a way to save herself from her new status as a modern-day slave or risk losing the one thing she has left: her life.

I was pretty excited about this book as it caught my attention on two levels. First, it is YA, which I quickly devour, but it was also about human trafficking (a should-not-exist issue that I am very passionate about ending). Usually books about human trafficking, or modern slavery, are not fiction, but are either explanatory, or are real people’s stories. And real people’s stories are usually too horrifying to claim that you actually enjoy reading them.

But this book I actually did enjoy. It was an easy read, and it eventually got to the point where I couldn’t put it down. You could tell Kim Purcell worked hard at making this book into something we might actually want to read. I wouldn’t categorize it as thriller or mystery, but it shadowed these elements as you puzzled through seventeen-year-old Hannah’s story, beginning to know her and love her.

The characters in Trafficked were hands-down my most favorite part of the book considering the author did a worthy job at character development. The Platonovs family wasn’t inherently evil, like we assume most slave-owners are. I could know this family. They were just so real, each person with their own personality, strengths and weaknesses. Some were even forgivable.

Another thing I really liked was that Hannah’s story was incredibly realistic. Recently I read More Than Rice, which gave a glimpse into the world of international sex-trafficking. But so much of the plot within the story was completely unlikely. On the other hand, Trafficked unveiled a situation that I’m pretty sure is happening somewhere in my own community.

Actually, Hannah was a domestic servant, which is the most common form of trafficking. Although I could see that her situation was totally messed-up, I could also understand why she just didn’t run for help. Purcell did an excellent job unveiling the “typical” modern-slave, including all the usual characteristics which made Hannah vulnerable in the first place and why she couldn’t just leave her situation. If you want a face for human trafficking, this is your book.

I am not saying this book was perfect, though. Sometimes it was just too uneventful. I mean, I got it that her life was boring- that was the whole point, she lived a monotonous life. At times, I just wanted it to be less monotonous for me! Then there were traces between Hannah’s past and her present that really added to the story, but were a little weird once they finally made sense. I also thought Purcell really could have capitalized on the relationship Hannah develops with the boy next door, Collin, while still staying within the bounds of being realistic.

Now was it appropriate for kids to read? I would say yes, undoubtedly if they are more mature. In fact, it was pretty clean considering Hannah’s situation. Overall I would recommend this book, giving it a 4.5/6 rating. And if you don’t know much about human trafficking, it is beyond a good book- it is a must read!


  • Sexual Content:  Moderate (because of the sort-of-rape scenes, which I considered as violence).
  • Profanity:  None (I’m pretty sure . . .)
  • Violence:  Moderate
  • Other Notables:  Threats and coercion

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