Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Unconfessed

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Unconfessed

by Yvette Christiansë

Unconfessed by Yvette Christiansë
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 360 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2007, 360 pages

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Yvette Christiansë was born in South Africa under apartheid and emigrated with her family via Swaziland to Australia at the age of eighteen. She now teaches African American literature and post colonial studies at Fordham University. Unconfessed is her first novel, following a collection of poetry, Castaway, published in 1999.


Modern Day Slavery - did you know?
According to the US State Department, slavery is now the third largest type of illegal trade in the world (after drugs and weapons); every year between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders with about 17,500 entering the USA. Many advocacy sources put the figures much higher, for example some say that about 1 million children in Asia alone are victims of the sex trade. In June 2006, British authorities announced that slave auctions were being held at British airports with brothel keepers bidding on women arriving under duress from Eastern Europe.

Human trafficking appears to be flourishing because of the general move to globalization in a which the poor are increasingly willing to leave their homeland in search of work; another factor is the end of the Cold War which left millions of Eastern Europeans in poverty, causing a massive explosion in criminal rings.

Some of the worst offenders, such as Saudi Arabia, China, Laos and Mexico, say they are taking action, and in 2000 the USA Congress introduced stiffer penalties for human trafficking; however, in the past five years, the USA Justice Department has tried only 91 cases. The Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley estimates that almost half of enslaved people in the US are in some form of prostitution, a further quarter are in domestic service and the remainder are being used in agriculture, factories, hotels and restaurants.

This article was originally published in January 2007, and has been updated for the September 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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