I read Hardit Singh's short stories Crossroads and Fast Lane, before reading his novel Traffic and I have to admit at first it was a hard story to read. Traffic deals with the white slave trade, women who are kidnaped and forced to work in brothels.
I've read other stories that deal with sex trafficking, but they mostly show the detective side, in this story you will see in-depth the lives the women are forced into. The story follows Melanie Swift, a woman kidnapped by a man she trusted and thrown into a world of brothels with no way out.
In the first part of the story we see Melanie's inner and outer life. Melanie is a bright, confident woman with a great will to live who just happens to be very beautiful, therefore marketable. We see her day to day activities which include very graphic and disturbing sex scenes. We also get to see her inner struggles to remain sane and hopeful in spite of it all. Her strength of character does get her in trouble and punished more than once.
During this time Melanie meets several women with different attitudes towards their enslavement. Some accept it and thrive, moving up the ladder to become call girls while others will do anything to escape. Theresa is one of those women who refuses to accept that lifestyle and will be Melanie's reminder of what their lives should be. Time and time again freedom seems so close and by the end of the first part of the story, Melanie's situation does seem hopeless.
Now comes the second part in which we're introduced to Carla Fontaine, a detective who meets Melanie and Theresa thanks to an unorthodox personal matter. Carla will become the rope that helps them climb from out of the hole and the shovel that will help them bury all the bad guys from the brothel and the police department.
I particularly enjoy the way Singh creates detectives, they have deep issues from their past, they are very smart and they don't act like a stereotype. Carla Fontaine has a lot to offer with problems with her ex-husband, her partner and ex-lover, her convict sister and still manages to solve a few cases while uncovering the corruption deep within the human trafficking unit in the police department.
For me the story was entertaining and gripping, but it also made me think and shudder. When I pass massage parlors I wonder if they have a basement with kidnapped women. Customers would never know if they're dealing with kidnapped women since they have to act like its just a job. How could they get away if their families are being threatened? Is death the only way out for some of those unlucky women?
I wouldn't consider Traffic an erotic novel, but there is a lot of graphic sex scenes as well as a very thoroughly researched inside look at the sex industry. With three very strong female characters, Traffic is a great book to read!
You can read an interview with author Hardit Singh and if you're interested in purchasing his books visit his Amazon page.
|Author Hardit Singh|