Just like my book review for Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor, this book contains gut-wrenching and dark stories that aren’t for the faint of heart. The author of this book, The Slave Across the Street: The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking, shared her story of being trafficked as a teenager. Theresa Flores’ story is unique, compared to most survivor stories I have heard or read.
You’ll be shocked, disgusted, appalled, and even nauseated by what you read. Imagining another human being could experience such horrors is heartbreaking, let alone there are men who would commit such atrocities is terrifying to consider. However, this story is not doom and gloom. It’s a story of survival and inspiration. I encourage you to read these stories because putting a face to the crime will inspire you to fight more.
Theresa Flores came from a fairly wealthy family. Her father had a great job and made a decent salary, while her mother took care of the kids. Life was good. The family moved very often due to Theresa’s father’s career. Her happy life would change when she moved to Michigan. She met the wrong person, the guy she thought was her friend. He would turn her life upside down, and for the next two years, Theresa would sneak out every night to do what Daniel and his cousins wanted, lest her family be harmed in refusing to do what was told. You learn in a separate chapter that her brother was also threatened by the same men threatening Theresa. What these men did to her was disgusting.
For two years, Theresa was forced into performing humiliating, abusive, and harmful acts to pleasure older men, as described in several chapters (Chapter 16 was certainly a difficult chapter to read). I will spare you the details of her abuse, but let’s just say it isn’t easy to read. As the title describes, Theresa eventually escapes, but not because she chose to leave. It was due to her father’s job relocating him. Theresa spent the next two decades healing from her pain and agony. She now uses her voice and her story to inform people about human trafficking.
There’s a lot to analyze in this book. For starters, Theresa broke several stereotypes surrounding human trafficking. Many Americans believe human trafficking isn’t an existent issue in this country. The victims usually come from foreign countries or are smuggled at the border. While this is true, that doesn’t make the U.S. invincible to human trafficking. This crime exists in our communities. Theresa is proof of that. She also broke the stereotype that human trafficking only happens to those who come from poor and/or broken families. Theresa’s family was well off and lived in a good neighborhood. Human trafficking can happen to anyone.
Additionally, I really understood what my last interviewee, Sarah, meant when she discussed “rape trafficking.” What Sarah and Theresa experienced was not sex. This wasn’t a consensual relationship. Theresa was raped every night for two years. She was injured several times in these “encounters.” Sex implies two consenting adults, not a minor and an older adult.
This book will truly open your eyes to the horrible world of human trafficking. I encourage you to read this novel and share it with your friends and family. Remember, education and awareness are key to fighting this crime! You can purchase this book on eBay, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble! I give this book 5 stars!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐