Book Note: Terrify No More by Gary Haugen

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery. I’ve not forgotten it. I’ve been overwhelmed by it – in a good way. I announced I was going to educate myself about this issue, share insights, and hopefully find some practical ways I could contribute from middle class suburbia to its eradication. And then I saw it everywhere. From book club groups I was in (actually the one that got re-reading this book), a 5K announcement, other blog posts, church events, community events, nonprofits, Twitter, Instagram, unexpected chapters in books – everywhere. Much like buying a new car and driving off the lot to see twelve identical cars on the 2-minute ride home. So, I’ve got some homework to do and the writing part of it just hasn’t come through yet.

This book is one of the originals that got me started. When the book club at our church picked it for the month’s reading I couldn’t resist the re-read (even though I have at least 10 other books sitting at home waiting for a first-read). Terrify No More is an up-close and personal view of a “typical” mission for the International Justice Mission. The primary story line follows a covert operation in Svay Pak, Cambodia to rescue little girls who have been sold to brothels – one as young as five or six. We are introduced to the operatives and the risks; we hear of the meetings that are conducted at all levels to coordinate an effective intervention; and by the end we understand the emotional and physical toll that these initatives surely must cost to those doing the grunt work.

This book doesn’t gloss over the work. It doesn’t report a “happy ending” with everyone being rescued, but it does show a case that had significant impact on changing the lives of thirty-plus girls, a community, and a nation. Woven in between the story in Cambodia, IJM President and author Gary Haugen recounts his own personal journey with the organization, the stories of other victims who go on to heroically and bravely confront the atrocity in their communities around the world, and the personalities of the other individuals involved in so many of these missions.

I’ve only read a few of the books available on this topic, but I can tell you that you should have a strong stomach. And you must keep in mind that ultimately these stories are about people who are sacrificing daily to make a difference and “…overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Here are two other books that I have read on the subject of human trafficking. I have a list going for others to read and welcome your recommendations.

  • Slave Hunter by Aaron Cohen
  • Little Princes by Conor Grennan

I have not come to a place in my spiritual walk to fully appreciate the Psalms. They have a place in my Bible reading, but I often overlook them. In the case of the title of this book, it couldn’t have been pulled from a more appropriate place and so I leave you with that:

“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;

you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

(Psalm 10:17-18)

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