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'Trafficked' author lifts veil of modern slavery

by: COURTESY OF KIM PURCELL - Kim Purcell, author of the young adult novel, 'Trafficked,' visited Madison, Grant, Wilson and Franklin high schools to talk about her book.Students at five Portland Public high schools will get a quick education on the reality of human trafficking by a visiting author this week.

Kim Purcell, New York City author of the young adult novel, "Trafficked," visited Madison, Grant, Wilson and Franklin to talk to students about her book, which she based on extensive research in the United States and Eastern Europe. Madison invited her to Portland after selecting the book (published by Viking in 2012) as its Madison Reads Book of 2013.

At the schools, Purcell spoke to students about human trafficking and how it affects both kids in the U.S. and around the world.

She also talked about following their dreams and overcoming fear, as she did to write her book.

The book is about a girl who comes to America in pursuit of her dreams but ends up in a nightmare, forced to be one of America's modern-day slaves.

"I like to talk to students about doing what they love, and being willing to put in the work required," Purcell said this week. "I think we had a great response from the students. At Franklin, the librarian, Jan Donald, said that she thought the talk was 'inspirational.' ... The students were amazing, just so attentive and grateful."

Purcell is a former journalist and mother of two girls, who was inspired when she was teaching English as a second language in Los Angeles to women from the former Soviet Union, and heard stories of their plight.

She decided to visit Moldova, the poorest of those countries, to try to understand the circumstances that would lead a girl to move to another country to start a new life with strangers.

by: COURTESY OF KIM PURCELL - 'Trafficked' took extensive research in the United States and Europe.In her blog (kimpurcell.com), Purcell says she was never worried about how readers would react to the book, but "now it seems strange because people have told me how shocking and disturbing it is to read in certain parts."

"I just wrote what I saw as the truth, based on the people I’d talked to and the research I’d done. I actually made it a little milder than what is probably the truth for many of these girls because I’d been warned that it could get banned in some areas due to the issue of slavery and the harsh nature of what she goes through."

By celebrating the book, Madison and the other schools are doing precisely the opposite of censorship.

Purcell just found out this week that "Trafficked" has been nominated for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Book Awards in the young adult category, an honor she's humbled by.

Her website offers resources for educators and students, and ways to help trafficked kids.

Next, she says she's working on two books, one on of which has to do with bullying.

The trailer for "Trafficked" can be seen at:

m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=IuMQdFc2l1g&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DIuMQdFc2l1g