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Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States

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Life Interrupted introduces us to survivors of human trafficking who are struggling to get by and make homes for themselves in the United States. Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. At once scholarly Life Interrupted introduces us to survivors of human trafficking who are struggling to get by and make homes for themselves in the United States. Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. At once scholarly and accessible, her book links these firsthand accounts to global economic inequities and under-regulated and unprotected workplaces that routinely exploit migrant laborers in the United States. Brennan contends that today's punitive immigration policies undermine efforts to fight trafficking. While many believe trafficking happens only in the sex trade, Brennan shows that across low-wage labor sectors—in fields, in factories, and on construction sites—widespread exploitation can lead to and conceal forced labor. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform. All royalties from this book will be donated to the nonprofit Survivor Leadership Training Fund administered through the Freedom Network.


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Life Interrupted introduces us to survivors of human trafficking who are struggling to get by and make homes for themselves in the United States. Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. At once scholarly Life Interrupted introduces us to survivors of human trafficking who are struggling to get by and make homes for themselves in the United States. Having spent nearly a decade following the lives of formerly trafficked men and women, Denise Brennan recounts in close detail their flight from their abusers and their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives. At once scholarly and accessible, her book links these firsthand accounts to global economic inequities and under-regulated and unprotected workplaces that routinely exploit migrant laborers in the United States. Brennan contends that today's punitive immigration policies undermine efforts to fight trafficking. While many believe trafficking happens only in the sex trade, Brennan shows that across low-wage labor sectors—in fields, in factories, and on construction sites—widespread exploitation can lead to and conceal forced labor. Life Interrupted is a riveting account of life in and after trafficking and a forceful call for meaningful immigration and labor reform. All royalties from this book will be donated to the nonprofit Survivor Leadership Training Fund administered through the Freedom Network.

30 review for Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Boyce

    http://bookreviewsbyme2.wordpress.com... This was a very readable and thought-provoking book. Before reading this book I knew almost nothing about forced labor in the United States, the only things I knew was what I could learn from the news. After reading this book I feel like I’m actually educated on the topic, that I could talk with someone about this and actually have some idea of what I was talking about. This book is extremely approachable. While the author does throw a lot of information at http://bookreviewsbyme2.wordpress.com... This was a very readable and thought-provoking book. Before reading this book I knew almost nothing about forced labor in the United States, the only things I knew was what I could learn from the news. After reading this book I feel like I’m actually educated on the topic, that I could talk with someone about this and actually have some idea of what I was talking about. This book is extremely approachable. While the author does throw a lot of information at the reader at a time, she writes in a style very similar to that of a documentary, making the information easy to absorb. In fact, I could almost hear the voice of a narrator in a documentary as I was reading this book. I enjoyed the focus this author took on the stories of many individuals. I thought that was a very interesting route to take with this book. It really allowed the facts that were being cited to become more relatable and personable to the reader. I also really enjoyed the fact that the author didn’t focus solely on Hispanic laborers. It was eye-opening to read about people who had come from other countries and were trafficked into forced labor in the United States as well. Things did get a little bit repetitive at times. Sometimes it seemed as if the author was just repeating points she had made earlier in the book, but usually it just served to reinforce an earlier point and tie chapters together. Overall, I enjoyed the book and the information it gave me, but the writing wasn't stellar. I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Brings awareness to human rights issues within U.S. borders. When the average person encounters the phrase, "trafficked persons," the image usually is of girls and women in the forced sex trade. What Denise Brennan does in this book, Life Interrupted, is to show how that narrow definition emerged and broaden the discussion to include all trafficked persons. She informs the reader how the narrow definition, in fact, harms the far larger groups of trafficked persons. Law enforcement and social serv Brings awareness to human rights issues within U.S. borders. When the average person encounters the phrase, "trafficked persons," the image usually is of girls and women in the forced sex trade. What Denise Brennan does in this book, Life Interrupted, is to show how that narrow definition emerged and broaden the discussion to include all trafficked persons. She informs the reader how the narrow definition, in fact, harms the far larger groups of trafficked persons. Law enforcement and social service agencies, many who carry the narrower definitions, may be blind to the broader cases. Those who are trafficked and in forced labor don't feel empowered to speak out because their concerns may be dismissed and they themselves stigmatized because of the public's association of trafficking with the sex trade. What Ms. Brennan does in this book is to couple dense material on anthropological and sociological data with case studies illustrating the data. She presents some of the issues, concerns, and failures of current government policies in regards to immigration and enforcement of human rights within the United States. She suggests ways in which the discussion and formation of immigration policy ought to move forward in order to protect and assist the marginalized among us. Mr. Brennan presents the topic starting with how people end up being trafficked, to their lives in forced labor, how employers keep them there, to how they escape, and how they are able to rebuild new lives. It is an important topic and one that I suspect most people are not truly aware. The fact that forced sex labor is just a small portion of a larger issue means that there are far more persons in forced labor than many of us are aware. This book brings awareness and the desire to do something about what is happening within the U.S. borders. The Appendix provides suggestions on how readers can engage the issue and gives organizations that are involved in the issue. Where this book stumbles is in the writing. I left with the feeling that the book tried to do too much. It tries to provide comprehensive, documented data to support the arguments while at the same time, through the case studies, show that it is real people that are being impacted, that it is not just about data and policy. I think that there might be too much of the dry data for readers to wade through. This book bears some similarities to Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, in which they discuss the issue of global women's rights. In my opinion, Half the Sky seems to get the balance better between engaging the reader with individual stories and the discussion of issues and policies. Life Interrupted is an important contribution to the ongoing debate and discussions around the issues of immigration reform and worker protections, particularly workers engaged in low-wage job in areas such as migrant work, factory work, and domestic work. (This review is based on an advance review copy supplied through NetGalley by the publisher.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    With all the recent interest in "fighting trafficking, this book highlights the aftermath of the battle, the trafficking victims who are "rescued" and the immigration limbo and hardships that they meet when they exit their forced labor conditions. The book is written very academically and largely focuses on the lives of these migrant workers. It is very eye-opening. Her chapter on trafficking contains stories of woman tricked into coming to the US and either underpaid or not paid at all. The auth With all the recent interest in "fighting trafficking, this book highlights the aftermath of the battle, the trafficking victims who are "rescued" and the immigration limbo and hardships that they meet when they exit their forced labor conditions. The book is written very academically and largely focuses on the lives of these migrant workers. It is very eye-opening. Her chapter on trafficking contains stories of woman tricked into coming to the US and either underpaid or not paid at all. The author emphasizes how the workers may not be physically held captive but are rather kept in their position through lies, fear and other methods of control. Trafficking is much less obvious than I would think. The trafficked persons' stories of resourcefulness, survival and escape are included here; to escape, they must outwit their captors and trusts others to help them (which is difficult after they have been lied to for such a long time). Side-note: The author writes, "while abuses within the sex sector are horrific...one kind of abuse and one kind of victim hood should not be price legend over another." In the first two chapters, the author talks about trafficking and workers' rights abuses within the agricultural and sex sectors. I would be considered either one of the right wing conservatives or women's equality feminists that the author describes who focus on sex trafficking as the greatest trafficking crime. But the author notes that as a result of our nation's obsession with fighting sex trafficking, many people are unaware of trafficking in other sectors, and this work does an important work in bringing those abuses to light and explaining why we never hear about them.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    This is a great book in terms of information--if you don't mind that it is scattered and could have used abetter organizational principle. The stories it recounts are in some ways heartbreaking, but still a necessary corrective to the idea that most trafficked people are in the sex trade. Not only sex workers lead horrible lives and some sex workers choose that life. That was quite useful and some of the information was very helpful. But no one would accuse the book's editors of working too hard This is a great book in terms of information--if you don't mind that it is scattered and could have used abetter organizational principle. The stories it recounts are in some ways heartbreaking, but still a necessary corrective to the idea that most trafficked people are in the sex trade. Not only sex workers lead horrible lives and some sex workers choose that life. That was quite useful and some of the information was very helpful. But no one would accuse the book's editors of working too hard. It was repetitious and often left you wanting more facts--not for salacious reasons, but because it was hard to figure out how certain situations had turned out. The best chapter was on the support trafficked workers find in places of solidarity with other trafficked workers--more than with their co-ethnics. It's a three star book on the information scale and two star on the organizational, editing, and readability scale.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mandi

    This book is most assuredly well researched and the topic is very important in this country right now. However, the book is written like a textbook-all facts and I felt like I was just slogging through it. Full review: http://theinsomniacbibliophile.blogsp... This book is most assuredly well researched and the topic is very important in this country right now. However, the book is written like a textbook-all facts and I felt like I was just slogging through it. Full review: http://theinsomniacbibliophile.blogsp...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    What strikes me most is how similar the experiences of trafficking and intimate partner violence are. I would have loved a little more story/ethnography, a little less explication, but still a good read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Shaver

    This book read to me like a textbook one would encounter in college. Perhaps if one was a social worker he would be interested in this, but I wasn't very interested in this. I got this free from goodreads first reads.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie Kuntz-Wineland

  9. 5 out of 5

    Covy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elzbieta Gozdziak

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice Crowl

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kim Drew

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nox Dineen-Porter

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim Wedge

  15. 5 out of 5

    AMV

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aria

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jaala

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marybeth

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Schilling

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eve

  25. 5 out of 5

    Landis Soto

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Sahar

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol Cleaveland

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

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