In the fall of 2010 Benjamin Perrin released his new book, Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking. Mine is underlined, highlighted, and bookmarked, indicating how much I learned and want to remember. Here are ten reasons why you should buy it today!
- The book is written buy a Canadian, about Canada, for Canadians (though I would recommend it to everyone despite their country of origin!) So many statistics are U.S.-based, and it is refreshing to get a Canadian perspective on the issue. It is truly the first book of its kind.
- Invisible Chains is a mixture of stories and statistics, allowing the reader to learn facts while being introduced to real-life people who have been affected by this crime. It is an easy read for those who do not know very much about trafficking, but goes into enough detail that those of us who have studied it for years learn a lot as well.
- The book shatters some of our myths about trafficking:
Myth: Individuals who did not seize opportunities to escape are not trafficking victims.
Reality: Victims are often under threats that make escape impossible or are under control similar to that experienced by victims of domestic abuse. (p65)
- Perrin gives dignity to victims whose names or stories would never have been told. I can only imagine how much it means to victims and their families to be remembered.
- Important information is given about the Palermo Protocol, Canadian convictions to date, and how temporary resident permits work in the context of trafficking. This would specifically be helpful to students who need legal context for their papers.
- Perrin helps us to see trafficking for what it is: modern day slavery. In one section he compares the old and new slave trade:
Old Slavery owners paid high costs to acquire their slaves and earned relatively low profits from their labour. in contrast, New Slavery owners avoid legal ownership but earn high profits from slaves whose cost is often minimal.
Despite these distinctions…some fundamental similarities remain: the targeting of disadvantaged individuals to reap ill-gotten financial rewards, the resistance of profiteers to exposing these systems of exploitation, the complicity of governments either through corruption or inaction, and the crucial role of individuals and civil society in championing its abolition. (p7)
- The book includes notes on methodology, demonstrating the importance Perrin places on good research. I like that he does not claim to know all the numbers, as organized crime is difficult to measure.
- At the end there is a list of abolitionist organizations who you can get involved with and support in the fight against trafficking.
- The title of the book is perfect. I will let you read the book to figure out why.
If you are looking for a gift for someone who is passionate about social justice issues or want to learn more yourself about human trafficking, you can buy the book from Amazon, Chapters, or the Penguin Group. Get an E-book version here. I have also seen the book in several book stores across the country.