This is not my usual form of book review.
I think I first heard of Rebecca Bender last year, and it was in relation to her work on the subject of human trafficking. Earlier this year, Trades of Hope began supporting her Elevate Academy. It’s the largest online resource for trafficking survivors. I’ll explain more later. But, as a result of hearing from her in the TOH environment, I bought her book In Pursuit of Love.
About the Book
Through her own gripping story of escape from human trafficking, Rebecca Bender reveals the inner workings of the underground world of modern-day slavery and helps us learn how we can be a catalyst for change where we live.
Born and raised in a small Oregon town, all-American girl Rebecca Bender was a varsity athlete and honor roll student with a promising future. Then a predator pretending to be her boyfriend lured her into a web of lies that sent her down a path she never imagined possible.
For nearly six years, Rebecca was sold across the underground world of sex trafficking in Las Vegas. She was branded, beaten, told when to sleep and what to wear, and traded between traffickers. Forced into a dark sisterhood, Rebecca formed bonds with her trafficker and three other women, creating a false sense of family. During that time, God began revealing himself to her. And in the midst of her exploitation, she found the hope she needed to survive.
After a federal raid, Rebecca escaped. Her life was forever changed as she felt the embrace of her heavenly Father guiding her to healing and wholeness. Rebecca soon began to use her own experiences to change the lives of others as she went back into the darkest places she had known–assisting FBI, VICE, and law enforcement across the country in some of their most difficult cases.
Through Rebecca’s incredible story of redemption, we remember that our past does not have to determine our destiny.
Here’s the one thing that struck me hardest:
I could’ve passed Rebecca on the street.
Between 2002 and 2005, I lived in northeast Arizona. If I wanted to hit up a shopping mall, my nearest one was in Las Vegas. When I was flying somewhere, I flew out of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. I stayed in hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, and wandered through hotels mentioned in Rebecca’s book. While walking along the Strip, my husband and I dodged the men trying to push flyers into my hands, flyers that mostly advertised “Girls! Girls! Girls” and gentlemen’s clubs.
If I didn’t walk past Rebecca, I walked past someone either promoting her “services” or another woman in her position.
I didn’t know. Continue reading