Lakshmi is a thirteen years old “hill girl” from a small mountain village in rural Nepal. She lives together with her mother, stepfather, a small goat and a small baby brother in a hut that can not protect them from the rain. Nonetheless she and her mother excel at finding the simple pleasures in live even if the step father gambles away all their money every night… A bad man is better than no man. After a especially rainy monsoon that washed away all of the family’s crops Lakshmi’s stepfather tells her that she’ll have to go to the city and find a job as a maid to support the family. With the picture of gaining enough money to buy a tin roof Lakshmi willingly agrees and is thankful that she can help her Ama.
What she doesn’t know is, that her new Auntie Bimla never intended to find her a job as a maid. Instead she brings young Lakshmi to happiness house in India. Lakshmi faces an unbelievable fate: she has been sold into child prostitution.
Patricia McCormick who worked together with Amnesty International and Survivors themselves manages to write a nearly poetic book about a traumatic experience. The book is written in Lakshmi’s voice as she writes down daily what happens. How she is treated, used and betrayed but also how she finds friends and laughter and in the end a ray of hope.
This book raises awareness for a fate that happens to young girls every day. Sexual trafficking is not some made up horror but day to day reality. And through reading the book and being aware of this violation of human rights is the first step to change. As Eli Weisel said, ”Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.”