Jared Andrews, a medical student at UCLA, Los Angeles, takes a vacation during semester and visits Calcutta, India. His friend introduces him, unexpectedly, to the dark side of the city and takes him to a brothel, where to his shock Jared meets a twelve year old girl by the name of Hann'sha and discovers that she has been held, in bondage, for the last four years providing sexual service to men every day since. Jared sets out on a mission to save Hann'sha but soon discovers that the system is designed to defeat him at every turn. A passionate story about one man's mission, and another young girl's hope - inextricably wound up in the convoluted underworld of criminality which has created an industry out of enslaving young children. It is a story about hope and of never giving up.
In one corner was a mattress, a few furnishings, in as much as they could be called such; and then, to my shock, sitting on the floor in one corner with her knees pulled up to her chin, and her hands wrapped around her legs, was a young girl. In the lackluster lighting, her eyes reflected the red glow of the bulb above.
She looked at me, saying nothing whatsoever. If she expected me to speak, she certainly did not show it.
It seemed at that instant that she was studying me, in as much as I was studying her.
She was young, that was for sure - possibly twelve or thirteen years of age and not more – although frankly, the trick of the light and her body posture did not make my judgment on the matter to be certain.
She had large brown eyes, with long black hair which fell to her shoulders. She was slim, but not in an athletic sense, but more as I had already seen the same of on the streets we had just walked; where young girls and young boys, devoid of proper nutrition, simply had no excess to their bodies.
Her skin was a smooth chocolate brown, and I was reminded how beautiful the Indian people could truly be and how relatively boring the white skin of my own race seemed in comparison.
After a moment she stretched her legs and lowered her eyes with a certain statement of subjugation; as if she was supposed to concede to me.
Anyone would have been justified at that point, in calling me “a bit slow” – for not having figured out what seemed obvious; but nothing about this place was obvious to my mind. I began to feel uneasy, and it was then that the incipient consternation which had started to form when first I had entered this dwelling - rose up and engulfed me like the maws of a tidal wave striking the unsuspecting shoreline.
I watched her as she stood up and approached. She was barefooted and wearing only a simple tattered dress with a pattern of flowers.
Her expression remained unchanged – neither happy, nor sad, nor interested, nothing – just an eerie emptiness. It paralleled the looks I had seen on the faces of soldiers of war, being marched silently into prison camps – a look of reconciliation that one’s fate was in other’s hands.
She came within inches of me, and then she reached down and pulled the dress up and over her head, revealing her entire nakedness.
See Me NOT - Human trafficking in the raw
I loved your book !!!!! I think you are a great writer and a writer with a purpose.
How did the girl escape the first time? You could have written that more in detail let her explain it.
What a great read.
Ineke – Buffalo, New York
See Me NOT - Human trafficking in the raw
I was touched by this story. A.P. - Germany
See me NOT - Human trafficking in the raw
Finding a good read in the universe of self-published books is a prodigious task. In 2011 alone their number reached about 2.7 million titles. The cruel truth about their majority is that they have value only to their authors. And yet, there are a few, which make an enjoyable reading. Thanks to Twitter I have discovered one of them: See Me Not by Real Laplaine, sold on Amazon.com. It is about saving a twelve years old girl, who was sold by her father to a criminal gang, which business is slave prostitution.
Being a work of fiction, See Me Not nonetheless depicts the reality, which is closer to us than we think. And yet, most of us do not see it, as it is beyond the boundaries of our established way of life and notions of permissible.
In spite of the gruesome subject, the reading is not depressing. Written in elegant prose, it is not only about the ills of humanity, but also about hope and optimism which, as the novella suggests, should be part of our lives no matter what.
The story is narrated by an American university student, who is on vacation in India. A local Calcutta friend, in an attempt to surprise the American with an exotic pleasure, takes him to a brothel, where 8-12 years old girls are kept as slave prostitutes.
Before his vacation, the American student knew about the existence of child prostitution, but it was an abstract knowledge about something as remote as another universe. Witnessing it personally though is different. For him it is a psychological shock, the nightmare haunting him day and night. The student decides to do whatever it takes to free the girl he saw in the brothel.
As an author of fiction and non-fiction on the subject matter I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in the field of human trafficking and slave prostitution. Nevertheless, I read See Me Not with interest. Not only had I discovered something new about India and child slavery, but I enjoyed the way the story was told. It is sprinkled with author’s remarks, both witty and elegant, such as this:
“I think that reality is a hotel that everyone needs to check into once in a while.”
Descriptions of sceneries are charming and vivid. That’s how Calcutta emerges in the novella. “The air was tuned with the muted sounds of humanity. The chatter of cooking utensils, the murmur of children and adults speaking from their dwellings and domains, all of it formed a symphony; a background melody, which made me feel more at ease, as I waited there, hunkered in the dark.”
Overall, it is a good thriller. I give it 4 stars.