Good Reads: Terrify No More

I finally got the chance to read a book that has been sitting in my stack for months, Terrify No More. It is written by Gary Haugen, the president & CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM).

It’s no secret that IJM is one of my favorite organizations (read my previous post about them here). For those of you who are unfamiliar, IJM is “a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression”. You can read more about them on their site.

As for the book, here is the official description from Amazon.comTerrify No More -Young Girls Held Captive & the Daring Undercover Operation to Win Their Freedom:

In a small village outside of Phnom Pehn, little children as young as five years old were forced to live as sex slaves. Day after day their hope was slipping away. Tireless workers from International Justice Mission (IJM) infiltrated the ring of brothels and gathered evidence to free the children. Headed up by former war-crimes investigator Gary Haugen, IJM faced impossible odds-police corruption, death threats, and mission-thwarting tip-offs. But they used their expert legal finesse and high-tech investigative techniques to save the lives of 37 young girls and secured the arrest and conviction of several perpetrators. Terrify No More focuses on this dramatic rescue story, and uses flashbacks to tell those of many other victims who were given a second chance at life by this amazing organization.

It is an intense book. At times it was very difficult to read about the abuse that these girls suffer day in and day out. Personally, out of every kind of evil that I can imagine in the world, none makes my stomach turn worse than child sex trafficking.

And while some of the graphic details included in the book were hard to confront, it is the reality for the 2 million children in the world who are trapped in the commercial sex trade (according to UNICEF, 2010).

I am always a proponent of awareness and education when it comes to issues like this. We all need to be made aware of what’s going on in our world, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. Only then can we be moved to help do something about it.

What fascinated me the most was learning how the IJM investigators work – how they gather information, go undercover for video evidence & facts, the complications they often face in getting the local governments & police to support them (who are often part of the problem), and finally how they go in (and sometimes very literally) pull the girls out to freedom. Their work & their courage amaze me.

I am so grateful that there are people in the world willing to risk everything for those trapped in these unspeakable situations.

One thing that Gary does a great job emphasizing is that while we can often feel hopeless in trying to help everyone, the team at IJM is always focused on the one. The one precious girl rescued from a brothel or the one man freed from a life of slavery in a brick kiln. Each is a tremendous victory.

And while I didn’t actually get to finish the book, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the issue of child trafficking and the admirable work that IJM does to fight it. I started telling the girl next to me on the plane about it and ended up giving my copy to her. I’ll have to get another one soon…

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV)

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