A Walk Across the Sun

A Walk Across the Sun

A Novel

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When a tsunami rages through their coastal town in India, 17-year-old Ahalya Ghai and her 15-year-old sister Sita are left orphaned and homeless. As they struggle to reach the safe haven of the convent where they attend school, they are abducted by human traffickers and thrust into a hidden world of sexual violence and illicit commerce, where the most valuable prize is the innocence of a child. Halfway across the world, in Washington, D.C., attorney Thomas Clarke faces his own personal and professional crises. Haunted by the tragic death of his infant daughter and estranged from his wife, he makes the fateful decision to pursue a pro bono sabbatical in India with an NGO that prosecutes the subcontinent's human traffickers. In Mumbai, his conscience awakens as he sees firsthand the horrors of the sex trade and the corrupt judicial system that fosters it. When he learns the fate of Ahalya and Sita, Clarke makes it his personal mission to rescue them, setting the stage for a deadly showdown with an international network of ruthless criminals. Spanning three continents and two cultures, this story chronicles an unforgettable journey through the underworld of modern slavery and into the darkest and most resilient corners of the human heart.
Publisher: New York, NY :, SilverOak
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781443408257
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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goddessbeth
Jan 20, 2019

This is a solidly good book. I was really hesitant to read it, because how can a story about human trafficking be anything but horrifying and heartbreaking? We even shy away from calling it what it is- slavery ("trafficking" is so much softer and more vague). And I know I tend to think of it as something that happens to other people, even though I KNOW Seattle is one of the trafficking locations in the US. Los Angeles and New York are in that list, by the way. I used to work near the port and I'd see those huge shipping containers and think "No one would even know if a whole herd of people were locked in there."

But having read this story, it's much more organized, and sinister, than that. The author did his research (he talks about it in the author's note), mostly with a group in India similar to his fictional CASE- an NGO that is dedicated to finding the slave owners, slave sellers, and their gangs and bringing them to justice, as well as supporting the victims (minors, and otherwise). And from what he writes, the trade in human slavery, especially sex slavery, works in conjunction with other black market dealings- drug networks, mafia, smuggling, and espionage. It's difficult to wrap my head around the concept of vast underground networks that spin entirely on men buying women and underage girls.

So while the book as a whole wasn't eye opening, it did shed some light into how this phenomenon can continue to thrive around the world. And certainly the resources the author provides help. He has some practical ways to encourage fighting modern slavery, which I really needed.

OK, back to the story of the story. There are three main characters- Ahalya, Sita, and Thomas. The story is written in third person so I never really connected with any of the characters. And the sensationalism is reduced, so it wasn't visceral or grisly. Mostly, I disliked Thomas but appreciated his persistence. Mostly, Sita was amazingly brave. More brave than I would be, in her situation. Mostly, Ahalya felt like a plot device. But overall, this was worth the read. It's an important topic, and not a poorly written story.

Here are some eye-popping Federal US statistics for you:
14,500-17,500 human beings are sold into slavery within the US every year. Mostly, these are people imported from countries like India, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, Mexico, etc.

100,000 to 300,000 of these human beings are under the age of 18, and usually exploited sexually. The average age of a sexually exploited child is 11. Prostitution usually starts are age 12 (for boys) or 13 (for girls). The average lifespan of a child in the sex trafficking trade? Two years.

2003 was the first time a state passed a law criminalizing human trafficking (it was WA state, but seriously- 2003?!)

In 2007, slave traders made more profit than Google, Nike, and Starbucks combined.

Slavery accounts for labor in the following industries: Sex and Escort, Domestic work, Traveling sales crews, Landscaping, Food services, Construction, Health and Beauty, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Carnivals, Forestry, and more.

The worst cities in the US for human slavery are: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and DC.

The best way to fight it is to put a voice to it. Check out organizations like Polaris and be vigilant. Support organizations that advocate for the victims and work with law enforcement to bust the perpetrators.

g
GillDLewis
Aug 21, 2018

This is a great story with lots of suspense. It is a serious subject though, so I would suggest that it is best for adults. I really liked the fact that it had some action points at the end of the book, so you could take action. It was harrowing in places, but it is what is really happening unfortunately.

w
wendyfath
Jul 06, 2017

Addison tackled an extremely important topic in this novel. Empathically written and well researched, Addison's choice of protagonists makes the story particularly moving. I appreciate being able to 'get into' the psyche of a fifteen year old innocent. Addison's amazingly detailed and painful insight into the world of human trafficking of girls and women really helped me understand what it would be like to be a women trapped in such horrific circumstances as the women he portrays.

l
louisgo
Apr 05, 2017

Interesting and informative plot but the writing was over-simplistic to the point of being painful. Almost felt like reading a Scholastic Level 5 school book instead of an adult novel. I skimmed through most of this book ... disappointing.

Very interesting plot but writing style is disappointingly simplistic. I felt I was being spoon fed the emotions and the terror. A good book but lacks impact because of the writing.

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Eil_1
Apr 28, 2016

Although a work of fiction, it runs parallel with the actual world of sex trafficking. The success in the promotion of this evil is due to the people world-wide who participate in their deviant behavior. The crimes inflicted on these young girls is a reflection of what happens to millions of others.

u
UnionvilleMama
Apr 22, 2016

Knowing what this book was about made it hard for me to get through the first two chapters. But despite the heavy subject matter, this book was a great read! I look forward to reading his other books

ehbooklover Apr 12, 2016

This book's strong female characters were terrific and had me rooting for them from the first page. It's main topic of human trafficking is hard to read about, but the author is able to effectively communicate the disturbing scope of this issue without providing gratuitous detail. And despite this difficult topic, the book manages to be uplifting as well. A great read!

CatherineG_1 Mar 27, 2016

Addison's story about two sisters sold into international slavery was well researched and written.
Reading John Grisham's endorsement of this book made me realize this was a legal thriller.
Addison's writing style is very similar to Grisham's, jam packed and neatly tied up at the end.
I would have preferred had he focused on one sister's ordeal. Sita's story was so strong and well done, he could have just focused only on her.

w
writermala
Jul 05, 2015

"A walk across the sun" is a heart rending tale of Ahalya and Sita, two sisters who are torn away from their upper middle class home in India by a cruel Tsunami. They end up in a brothel and worse still separated from each other. While Thomas an attorney from the U.S is trying hard to trace Sita, Sita resolves that come what may she will cling to her memories while Ahalya entrusts Thomas with the task of bringing Sita back to her. The message of the book further is that the war against human trafficking cannot be stopped by putting traffickers in jail rather it will only stop when men stop buying women for their pleasure. A well told story with an important message.

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mathmami Jun 21, 2014

human trafficking in india

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