R  J  Flo
© R  J  Flo 2015
FAQ’s An interview with R J  Flo If you would like to ask R  J  Flo a question then e mail: Why did you choose to write a story about human trafficking?   I didn’t choose the story, it chose me! I met this lady in a bar. It was a nameless bar in a nameless city that could have been anywhere in this world we live in. I was early and my friends were late and I saw Victoria sitting by herself crying into her beer (it was tequila actually). We got to talking and she told me she was celebrating. She told me how she had been promised a well-paid job in a high end dress shop. She told me how excited she and her family had been at the prospect of real money; money that would put an end to an existence of living from hand to mouth, day after day. She told me of her young son who she had left with ‘babushka’ since her husband disappeared as soon as he was born; how she had dreamed of a university education for her child with the money she was to make.  	Then she told me of her arrival and how she was met at the airport, escorted to a flat where she was locked in like a prisoner along with several other girls. She told me how she was beaten and gang raped until she lost the will to fight back and gave in to their demands – prostitution. She told me how it all works, of the beefy Mamasans or ‘managers’ who would oversee large groups of women, escort them to a bar and arrange hour long liaisons with a man – any man regardless of age, nationality or personal hygiene; all that mattered was that he had the money. She told me of the enforcer who would beat an errant girl with an iron bar before raping her; of the cigarette burns and other means of teaching a bad girl a lesson.  	Why was she celebrating you may ask? Well after being forced to work in a brothel for the last two years, that morning her boss had come in and handed her passport back. He said she had repaid the debt she owed to the traffickers for bringing her over and that she was free to go. That is when I met her in the bar. When she was celebrating. 	Whilst this book, its people and the locations are all fictional, the story lines are all true and based on anecdotes related to myself by Victoria and others like her or from the proceedings of actual court cases where traffickers have been found and prosecuted.   	Kristina’s story is Victoria’s story – but in Victoria’s case no-one came to save her. She spent two years locked up in a brothel with no escape. Whilst you tuck yourself up in your cosy bed tonight, just spare a thought for the thousands of girls like Victoria; forced into prostitution through no fault of their own and for no other reason than they wanted a better job and a better life for themselves and their family.       There’s the daughter, the mother so why did you include Nikki?  I felt that there was no way a respectable mother such as Elena could travel half way across the World, take on the trafficking gangs single handed and win – hence Nikki. It needed someone who was basically as bad as they were and someone who knew the ropes. All the cons she and Phillippe pulled are ones taken from real life (except one) and have happened to someone, somewhere. Thankfully not the same person!  So which one wasn’t?  The one at the airport with the ticket machine. I was stuck in this situation and thought, ‘now what would Nikki have done?’  Are the court cases true and where did they come from? Yes they are all real stories collected from newspaper reports which I found over the Internet. For reliability, I ensured that each story had been published in a number of reputable sources and then rewrote the reports to shorten them. All quotes however are verbatim from the proceedings.  Where do they come from?  All over the World. From Central America to the UK, to Europe, and Asia. Whilst they are all brought together to make a story line fortunately all the events happened to different people in different places.  One point I would like to make is that reading reports of Court cases is a good sign. It shows that that country has zero tolerance against trafficking and is doing everything it can to stop it. The worry is those countries who are not prosecuting traffickers as they are clearly not doing enough to stop the trade. This is a worldwide problem. Why did you chose to put the proceedings from a court case at the end of every chapter? Because no-one would believe what was in that chapter otherwise! Human trafficking is a horrid trade and I did not want to sensationalise it for the sake of a book of fiction. Putting a court proceeding at the end of each chapter shows that what went on in the story is nowhere near as bad as what actually goes on in real life. Besides, I have a good imagination but even I couldn’t imagine some of the things gleaned from the court cases! Q. In what way will the book help? A. Human trafficking isn't refugees or people like them. Human trafficking is defined as 'the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception.' It's the second biggest international crime with an estimated worth of 31.6 billion US Dollars and involves 2.5 million people a year! Of these 1.4 million are for sexual purposes and these are mainly women. That's the equivalent of the entire female population (babies to Grandma's) of Albania or Jamaica being forcibly taken and made to work in prostitution per year! The authorities are trying everything to stamp out the trade but in raising the awareness it might make one or two think before they travel half the way around the World for a job offer they found on the internet i.e. check it out first.  Sponsored Links     Stop trafficking. End slavery  Learn about human trafficking.  Support the treaty to end it.