Through the eyes of torment

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 11:49 22/11/2012

BOOK REVIEW: Trafficked
By Sophie Hayes (Harper, RRP $25)

British girl Sophie Hayes didn't have a great relationship with her father, or with men in general, mistrusting most of them on sight.

However, at the age of 18 she met Kas, just a year older and (it seemed) the exact opposite of what she thought all men were: he was charming, kind and determined to be her friend.

During the next few years, their friendship blossomed and Sophie began to love and trust Kas.

When she was 24, she went to Italy with him for a holiday that started out as idyllic but quickly became a nightmare. Kas had plans for Sophie that had nothing to do with love, trust or friendship.

His plans involved her working as a prostitute to pay off his debts and for the next few months, under constant threat of beatings for herself or the murder of her beloved younger brother, Sophie had sex with up to 30 men a day and lived through hell to give Kas what he wanted.

She managed to escape, contacting her mother during an unexpected hospital admission, and made her way back to England and safety.

This account of her story is harrowing but also empowering: Sophie was at rock bottom but never truly gave up hope of making it back home.

Sophie shows that even though things might look as bad as you possibly think they could be, there is always a reason to hope. And while most of us probably think that human trafficking only happens in poor countries or in the movies, this story is a reminder that sometimes it's not just strangers we should be scared of.

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