Mumtaz, the ruler of the brothel, runs the house with brutality and a sense of street smart. Cheating Lakshmi of her paltry earnings, Mumtaz tells the girl she will never leave until she can pay off her family’s debts, which will never happen given the way the process is set up. She is living what is essentially enforced slavery. Despite her dire circumstances, Lakshmi continues to live by her mother’s words “simply to endure is to triumph” and slowly forms friendships with Shahanna and Anita who enable her to make it through her new struggles (McCormick 16). She learns to speak English from “this David Beckham boy” (McCormick 140). In time, Lakshmi meets a disguised Ame...
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...nd willingly obliges as she feels a man “pushing himself between her thighs,” only gasping for air, not complaining (McCormick 103). The fact she doesn’t know what is happening at every moment around her proves how unregulated and truly horrible the life she has ahead of her is, and how utterly unprepared for the world Lakshmi was when she left her remote village.
When the American man comes to save her is when it gets important. The awareness has risen, and the forced prostitutes are liberated. Ultimately, the novel acts as a learning tool. It exposes topics unknown to many in our privileged Western world. Not everyone knows about the system of sexual slavery and how pervasive it still is in other countries. The reader quickly learns everything there is to know about how scary and dangerous the trafficking can be, and how it impacts those sold into its dark ways.
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