Highway to Hell by Matt Roper

This book is appropriately subtitled “The Road Where Childhoods are Stolen”. Movingly written, we are brought to love and agonise with little lilac-dressed Leilah, desperate-to-start-a-new-life Mariana and all the other broken girls we meet along that tragic highway BR116.

How can their own mothers, uncles, cousins force ten year old girls, who want to play with dolls and chat with their school friends, to venture out night after night onto the motorway shoulder, climb into whichever truck stops, offer themselves as a plaything for the unscrupulous ​driver, get paid with little more than a bite to eat and be dropped off at some unknown petrol station further up the road?

How is it that the children’s social workers’ reports of abuse and abduction are ignored by police and judges alike?

We can’t grasp the horrible truth that the communities along this highway not only tolerate this practice but consider it normal for young girls to sell their bodies in order to augment the paltry family income.

For the few lucky ones, Meninadança’s Pink House provides a very welcome haven of hope. Matt and Dean continue to campaign with all the means at their disposal and by mobilising supporters around the world to halt this abomination for the many thousands of girls still caught up in it. May this book be a catalyst for that end.

See also www.meninadanca.org or Meninadança’s Facebook page.

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