Book Review. A Crime So Monstrous
by, 10-10-2011 at 01:00 PM (956 Views)
Every once in a while you do come across a truly terrifying book. Something that will send chills down your spine, literally. A page turner that brings out emotions you thought you did not have.
E. Benjamin Skinner achieved such a book in A Crime So Monstrous. Skinner travels to several countries on Earth to document modern day slavery, and what is chilling about the book is that it is factual. Skinner details in elegant but journalistic style the plight of the currently estimated 27 million slaves on the planet. From the slavery-based economies of Haiti and India, to the truly shocking accounts of Sexual Slavery in Europe and the Middle East, Skinner documents a crime that for most people actually does not exist.
He delivers a brilliant description of the current state, but more troublesome, he allows the reader to understand why the policies of the U.N. and most developed nations simply are worthless when fighting this atrocity. From the simplest item (a universally clear and recognized definition of what is a slave) to the economic interests of many countries when pointing fingers and clearly calling “a slave a slave”, Skinner described how the fight is hindered frequently, both by ideology and hidden agendas.
In between, Skinner tells of children abducted under false pretense and then delivered to people that can only be described as monsters. Child molestation does not come close to describing what really happens to these children: abuse, rape and beatings are every day occurrences for them.
Combing Europe, he reaches Romania and its surrounding countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Albania. There, entire villages have been depleted of their main resource: young women, abducted and delivered to clandestine brothels in Western Europe, where they are forced to “work” for years before being able to pay a the “debt” incurred by them when their kidnappers took them “to a better place”. Again, Skinner’s prose is elegant enough to make this book a good reading, but he does not shy from delivering graphical images of this sinister trade.
Being American, he does center his description of policies in the U.S. Here, he simply shows how the problem is not ranked high enough on the political map for any administration (he begins with Bush Jr but hints at the incoming Obama) to, for example, call on Saudi Arabia and India to assist on freeing millions of slaves there. In a gut wrenching final chapter, he explains how the Anti Slavery Czar in the State Department finally resigns, surrendering to the fact that this fight is not important to many higher figures in today’s political map. With an estimated 17,000 slaves in the U.S. (Mexican farmer migrants, Haitian Home Slaves, Sexual Slaves in NY) he brings the subject close to America.
It is not a foreign problem. It is here. And it is now.
Ignorance is bliss, he states. But now you know about this problem, he says, because you have read the book. You have read the account. You can’t say anymore that you don’t know.
A Crime So Monstrous is not a bed time book. It will leave you wondering. Thinking. Terrified. Which is its greatest achievement.
Next time you buy something manufactured in India, China or Brazil, wonder. Maybe somewhere down the line, a slave is toiling endlessly for your little comfort. Just maybe. But that is one slave too many.