Highway to Hell: The road where childhoods are stolen - eBook
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Vendor: Monarch Books
Publication Date: 2013
Brazil's BR-116 motorway has been described as the worst road in the world. According to the Brazilian government, a child is sold for sex every ten miles. Thousands of young girls, some as young as nine, are forced to sell their bodies to truck drivers to bring money home to their families. Businessmen and politicians organize child prostitution rackets. The girls refer to the 2,700-mile motorway as the 'Highway to Hell'. Their childhoods are stolen there, and many are trapped in unimaginable abuse and violence. This book documents this untold tragedy in the form of a journey up the motorway, as Matt meet the girls and hears their stories, as well as encounters with the truck drivers, pimps, brothel owners, traffickers and the brave individuals trying to make a difference. It is also a journey in faith as Matt grapples with what his Christian faith has to say about it and discovers how God wants him to respond.
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NatePoland, MEAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Disturbing and life-changingMarch 13, 2014NatePoland, MEAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In Highway to Hell: The Road Where Childhoods Are Stolen, freelance journalist Matt Roper tells of the horrific child prostitution problem in Brazil, specifically along the 1,500-mile BR-116 corridor. The stories of numerous young girls - some as young as nine years old - who tragically sell their bodies to provide for their families are truly grotesque, but what is worse is that the stories told by Roper represent only a small fraction of the thousands of girls who are being exploited sexually in Brazil.
Highway to Hell tells of parents and grandparents who encourage or even force their daughters to stand by the roadside to sell themselves to long-haul truckers in order to provide for their families, of entire communities that depend on the income from child prostitution, of a government that tries to sweep the problem under the carpet, of girls who are so steeped in this culture that they don't even recognize it as wrong, of pimps and brothels who exploit these girls (in some cases holding them hostage), and of the men who purchase these girls' services. Praise the Lord, it also tells of the few but very important men and women who are working diligently to save these girls.
This book was eye-opening. I had never imagined that the child prostitution problem was so bad in Brazil, and while I know people whose parents did terrible things to them as children, I never could have imagined a parent or grandparent doing some of the things in this book.
I cried numerous times while reading Highway to Hell and I challenge you not to. There is a strand of hope running throughout the book, though: people such as Matt, Dean, Rita, Abigail, Fabio, and others who God is using to make a difference. You'll cry about that as well. :-)
I promise you that you will not enjoy this book. You will, however, be changed and that is a very good thing.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Randy MannHenderson, NCAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Highway to Hell - Telling the Untold StoryMarch 12, 2014Randy MannHenderson, NCAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In a way that only a journalist could, Matt Roper, in Highway to Hell - The Road Where Childhoods are Stolen, tells the horrors he and Canadian county music singer Dean Brody discovered as they sought to expose the sex trafficking taking place along Brazilian highway BR-116, a road that traverses over 2800 miles near the eastern coast of Brazil. It is hard to identify the most difficult part of reading this book: the stories of the young girls, many starting between 9 and 11 years old, who sell their bodies to truck drivers and other strangers along this route; the realization that, in many cases, it is the mothers and grandmothers of these young girls who are encouraging, or forcing, them toward this lifestyle; the mentality among those in many of these communities that such activity is just a normal, acceptable pattern of life, perpetuated with each passing generation; or perhaps the fact that where people in power are aware of this situation, they often turn a blind eye to it, either due to the involvement of "powerful" or "influential" people, or due to the fact that the problem is so large, they simply wouldn't begin to know where to start in order to combat it.
There are several reasons this book should be read. First, it is easy for those of us who live in very comfortable circumstances in America to assume that the rest of the world lives just like we do. Such is simply not so. Having been to 12 or 13 different countries on 5 of the 7 continents, I can attest to the fact that our living circumstances are certainly in the global minority. Second, where knowledge of such atrocities is available, ignorance of it can no longer be an excuse. Third, this work reminds us that our relationship with Christ not only impacts our own lives but also the way we view the world and the situation of others. If we truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, we cannot be disinterested where precious image-bearers of God are being treated as nothing more than cheap commodities, currency for a moment of pleasure. Fourth, it is encouraging to read of a believer in Christ who takes His faith seriously enough not only to "believe" certain things about God, but to put those beliefs into practice for the good of others and for the glory of God.
In this book you will read of the story of Mariana, who was rescued out of a lifestyle of illegal drugs, prostitution and violence. You will read of nearly 60 other girls in a town called Medina who are participating in a program that is helping them realize their value as image-bearers and helping them discover ways God may desire to use their lives for His glory. But, you will also learn of hundreds, more likely, thousands, of girls who continue to live in sexual abuse and slavery every day. Read this book. Pray for these girls. Ask God to deliver them from this bondage and into the freedom of knowing Him and His incredible love for them. While you are at it, ask God how He might want to use you toward that end.
(FTC Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this unbiased review.)
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5This book will break your heartMarch 9, 2014bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Reading this book will break your heart. It reveals a world I didn't want to believe existed.
There is a picture postcard image of Brazil, sun, sea, and samba, that most foreigners only ever see. But there is a very different Brazil just a few blocks away, a world of child prostitution along BR-116, the "highway to hell."
Matt Roper, a successful journalist at the Daily Mirror, received an email from Dean Brody, a Canadian country music star. Brody had just read a book Roper had written years before about prostitution in Brazil. The two decided to travel along Brazil's BR-116. What they found was an epidemic of child prostitution.
This book is overwhelming. The government overlooks child prostitution because it would reduce tourist income. Parents often sell their children into prostitution as a source of income. Many of the girls start young, at age ten, as it is something their mother and grandmother did. The girls think there is something wrong with them if they do not have a sexually active life by the age of twelve. They are part of a warped culture where girls think that selling their body for sex is cool. Brazil's federal highway police recently identified 272 places along BR-116 where underage girls are known to be sold for sex. That means for the BR-116 length of 2,819 miles, there are children being sold for sex about every ten miles. Roper writes, "It was an epidemic of child prostitution infecting every single town and village, right down to the smallest community." (163) As one child councillor told them, "Child prostitution's just part of life here. People who have grown up here don't see it like you and I do, even the Christians. Most people have stopped seeing it at all." (168) Hundreds of girls are forced into the sex trade by their own families. Mothers swap their daughters for a bag of beans or a packet of cigarettes. Girls aged twelve and thirteen are dying of AIDS. The councillor said girls she had cared for one day climbed into a truck along BR-116 never to return. (23)
Roper and Brody decided to reach out to one community, Medina, and the young girls there selling themselves to prostitution. They bought a house that had a room large enough for a dance studio. They painted it pink. Meninadanca was born. Now, in this one community, there is a welcoming place where girls can find a different life. Their vision is to replicate what they have done in Medina in other towns along the BR-116. They are determined to press forward until child prostitution is no longer tolerated in Brazil.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Books for the purpose of this independent and honest review.
Book NerdyAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Love/Hate relationship with this storyMarch 5, 2014Book NerdyAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5BR-116 is the main highway in Brazil stretching nearly 3,000 miles. Along this highway you will not find scenic pasture or beautiful landscape. Well, you may find this if you're just strolling along to unwind_but if you're paying any attention at all, you will find heartbreak.
Along this stretch of highway is the sale of bodies for prostitution_with some bodies being sold as young as 10 years old. Journalist Matt Roper and his supporters set out to rescue young ladies from this tragedy and their findings will break your heart.
The sadness that goes along with these young girls selling their bodies is that authorities more often than not turn their eye from this and ignore it. This is the main reason why BR-116 is so famous for child prostitution_because no one does anything about it, except for Matt Roper and perhaps readers of this story.
In this book are gripping details and horrific accounts of girls of all ages climbing into trucks of industrial drivers - with some never to be seen again. Let me warn you: this is not a comforting and encouraging read. As you read this you will experience a full-range of emotions_with anger setting in along with frustration, sadness, brokenness, hopelessness but also joy as you read about Roper's mission to change the lives of young ladies.
Please consider not following the example set by authorities. Don't turn a blind eye to something so tragic. Read this book and be moved to at least pray fervently for these girls to be rescued both physically and spiritually.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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