IN PRISM'S BOOK BAG: Gary Haugen's TERRIFY NO MORE (W Publishing)

reviewed by Rebecca Yael Miller

"O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may terrify no more." (Psalm 10:17-18)

TERRIFY NO MORE is a poignant account of the lives of young girls systematically sold into prostitution, and the role that International Justice Mission (IJM), founded by the author, plays in working for their freedom.

Despite its melodramatic subtitle – "Young girls held captive and the daring undercover operation to win their freedom" – Gary Haugen's book is compellingly clear, well documented, and divided into over 50 short chapters of straightforward, readable prose – an important attribute in a book dealing with such intense subject matter.

And the subject matter is just that. Rather than quoting a sterile, albeit staggering, statistic: a million girls are sold into prostitution each year – Haugen tells about Dacie, a 14-year-old Burmese girl who was tricked into leaving her home to pursue a job in Thailand. Instead, Dacie was handed over to a Thai brothel and on her first night as a sex slave was raped by seven men.

Sex trafficking is a profitable business, so instead of buying these girls' freedom, as many other well-intentioned but shortsighted organizations do, IJM works with local officials to make it unprofitable – raising the cost to arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment for those who both supply and demand.

On the supply side, IJM agents gather evidence against pimps, brothel owners, and corrupt law enforcers, using the local legal systems that are already in place (though rarely enforced) and working in cooperation with local law enforcement officials to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. In doing so, IJM hopes to encourage would-be perpetrators to find less risky ways to make a living.

On the demand side, in cooperation with enforcement agents in the United States, IJM provides evidence of American sex tourists' violations overseas (which are prosecutable under American extraterritorial jurisdiction laws). The fear and shame of being caught and prosecuted at home keep an unknown number of would-be violators at bay.

As philosopher Edmund Burke wrote: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Haugen and his colleagues at IJM take Burke's words to heart. Educated in law enforcement, social work, and legal studies, knowing the facts and seeing the stories firsthand, the good men and women at IJM cannot stand by and do nothing.

Rebecca Yael Miller writes the Washington Watch column for PRISM.

 

 

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