Serious Offense

Sold, by Patricia McCormick, is a story that is true. Not in the sense of the particular girl existing but all the events actually happen. Officials estimate there are at least 1.2 million child prostitutes in India. 7000 women and children a day are transported in to India for sex work. Some are kidnapped, some are sold by parents or guardians, some are tricked and told they are doing factory work or becoming maids.

Lakshmi is a 13 year old Nepali girl. She worries about her mother and baby brother, she works hard in school, she daydreams about the boy she's betrothed to, she feeds her pet goat and waters her vegetable patch. Unfortunately, she has a gambling, alcoholic stepfather. He sells her to a woman who takes her to India and sells her in turn to a madam (terrible word in this case) Mumtaz. When Lakshmi won't cooperate and have sex, Mumtaz tries starving her and beating her. When Lakshmi still does not give in, she is drugged and raped. As Lakshmi learns about her new life, she slowly comes back to her own self and finds the courage to trust an American who says he can help her.

I give this one a 7. I love the fact that Lakshmi isn't just a passive person. she's willing to let herself die before Mumtaz drugs her. She keeps track of her own earnings in various attempts to work her way out of her so-called debt. she learns some English and Hindi from one of the other women's son, Hamsish. And, most importantly from a real person psychology standpoint, she helps herself out of her situation.

When trying to come up with a title i had some problems. my vocabulary failed me....what's a word that means "blasphemy" but without the religious connotations? Travesty maybe?


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