Five teens victimized by sex trafficking try to find their way to a new life in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling author of Tricks from Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank.
In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.
And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heartwrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home
The courage to leap
the brink, free fall
beyond the precipice,
end the pain. Mine.
Mom's. Oh, she'd feel
the initial sting, cry
for a day or two, but it
short-lived, a quick
stab of grief. Finite.
A satin-lined coffin
and cool, deep hole are
walking a treadmill
over a carpet of coals,
enduring the blistering,
skin-cracking flames of
this living hell.
Away from here, this dirty
city, where people come
in search of Lady Luck,
certain she'll guide them to
the fortune she owes them,
to shed their skins, reveal
the extraordinary creatures
beneath, aliens they struggle
to conceal from spouses,
ministers, their local PTA.
I walk away from her?
My best friend, turned lover
before our tumble from
enlightenment, if such a thing
ever belonged to me. Can
excise her from my heart
as easily as she deserted me?
If I opened my arms, begged
her to return, would she come
back, or would she turn and
I'd never get used to living like this,
at the beck and call, and under almost
total control of another human being.
I say almost, because after Carl, my ex
sugar daddy when I moved in here
with David, I knew enough to find a way
to stash some cash, in case I ever need
an escape route. Carl, who brought me
with him from Louisville, a trophy
to decorate his Lake Las Vegas luxury
condominium, allowed me no chance
at personal resources. He wanted ownership.
Slavery is alive and thriving in Sin City,
Nevada. Maybe that's why I gambled
on connecting with hot-stranger-in-the-gym
Jared—the growing need for rebellion,
or at least a taste of autonomy. Or maybe
it was simply because I'm only eighteen,
and still stashed inside is the belief
that love waits for me somewhere.
If I'm to be perfectly honest with myself,
is that my attraction to Jared was totally
fed by lust. Well, lust and loneliness.
Carl may have provided well for me, but
he wasn't much for companionship.
Working out, laying by the pool and
improving my culinary skills didn't exactly
tally satisfaction. Even the sex with Carl
(and sometimes an added friend of his)
didn't add much spice to our relationship.
So, yeah, I was pretty damn hungry when
Jared showed up in gym, and that man
was something to look at. Ripped, not
an ounce of flab, and the chiseled face
of a god. I never suspected he was a ringer.
Carl baited the hook, and I bit. Hard.
When he reeled me in, I felt about like a trout
who knew that fly didn't quite look right,
but just couldn't help himself. And then,
Carl gutted me, threw me into the frying pan.
reviews from Booklist:
"Hopkins’ undeniable empathyfor young people remains sincere and moving." —Booklist