This is the first novel I read this year. It focuses on the twin issues of child trafficking and sex slavery. It tells the story of the experiences of many children that are trafficked to Europe each year in the hope that life would be better there. It tells the story of Eyo, an illiterate ten year old girl who is trafficked to the United Kingdom by her father with promises of work, an education and a fortune. Be warned this book is not for the faint-hearted.
One of the first things i liked about the book was its cover. It is very simplistic and arty. The book contains 346 pages making for a quick read and is divided into four parts. Estimated reading time would be about two days.
Eyo is a ten year old girl living in the slum that is Ajegunle. Raised in a poor home under inhuman living conditions; their houses built on waste, a meal per day, she is forced to hawk ice water about to support her family. Besides hawking water with her brother Lanre, Eyo helps her mother at home like every well-trained young girl. At night, she is turned into a sex slave for her incestuous father Wale with the silent conspiracy of her mother who we told underwent the same thing at the hands of her father. Wale later connives with his friend, Femi to send her abroad with the hope of a better life for her. She is not in support of this plan but is later convinced by her mother who tells her to endure, never to bring shame on the family and how she is the family’s last hope.
In the UK, she becomes a domestic servant where she is overworked, underfed and maltreated. Here also she becomes a sex slave to the master of the house and his numerous friends who pay to sleep with her. Later on she is passed off to Big Madame who runs a brothel. She becomes Big Madame’s favourite sex provider and income earner putting to use the skills learnt from her experiences with her father.
She is passed on to another pimp, Johnny a boorish and brutal personality who inflicts violence whenever she refuses to adhere to his commands. He also uses her to create pornography. She changes her name to Jungle Girl claiming that Eyo is dead and gone.
A silver lining appears in the guise of Father Stephen, Sister Mary and Nike, a human rights activist; Eyo is able free herself and start the long road to redemption.
The book is highly addictive and i could not put it down once I began to read it. The characters evoked a full spectrum of emotions in me. The book was able to show the beast that can be found in a person and despite all the evil in the world, there are still good people out there. I highly recommend this book.
Abidemi Sanusi exposes the myth of the supposed greener pastures to be found abroad. She depicts the horror stories that happen in many Nigerian families. Following Eyo’s story, one wonders whether some people are perpetually bound to a life of suffering and abject poverty.
You can follow me on twitter @dhame_lawal for updates about this blog.