4 out of 5 stars
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Gloria Eveleigh’s novel The Price Of Worthlessness addresses human trafficking from the point of view of Petra. After seeing her popular sister garner approval from her family, Petra joins the netball club. The netball coach, Mr. Ahmed, takes a personal interest in Petra, and the fourteen-year-old stays after practice. One afternoon, Mr. Ahmed tells her that his friend Marvin wants to get to know her better. The following Wednesday, Petra meets Marvin, a twenty-eight-year-old man. Despite their age difference, Marvin convinces Petra to keep their relationship secret. Events at Marvin’s apartment led to multiple men raping the young girl. Petra tells the police. All of her forensic evidence disappears. Two months pass before Petra disappears after school. Marvin abducts her, and the story details her life in a sex trafficking ring.
There are a few parts of this book that I find unbelievable. I understood Petra was young and naive, but a man twice her age wanting to have a serious relationship with her is odd. She knew it was wrong because she didn’t want her parents to find out. I saw several times that she could have easily escaped. It was frustrating to see how she didn’t take advantage of those opportunities.
I appreciated the format of the story. The book starts in December 2005, when Petra was fourteen. It progressed in monthly increments until February 2008, when she was eighteen. It described the steps of grooming Petra in great detail. The sexual acts were vague, with a focus on Petra’s emotions. There were several moments where the story would take an abrupt turn, which kept me engrossed all the way to the conclusion.
I am confident in rating The Price Of Worthlessness 4 out of 5 stars. Human trafficking is a horrible crime, but the multiple warning signs in the story were obvious. I felt Petra’s family should have picked up on their daughter’s sudden change in behavior. I am honestly skeptical that any young teen would seriously think an adult loved them. The story Marvin told Petra about the rapes was absurd. I encountered only a few errors and felt this book’s editing was professionally done.
I recommend this novel to readers interested in the psychological effects and the processes criminals used to imprison their victims. The number of people involved in human trafficking is shocking. They explored the lack of prosecution for crimes in depth. This book is not appropriate for younger readers because of the serious content and the violence involved.
The Price of Worthlessness
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