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Custom Justice by Amanda Blackwood
Custom Justice: Finding justice for a human trafficking survivor is never easy. Fighting internationally is impossible.
It’s hard enough to escape human trafficking, but how does someone survive the aftermath of continually being hunted for years to come? I was young when the abuse started. It came from every angle. Struggling for many years, I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a chance at a normal life with real love and true happiness. At the age of 31 I figured I was too old for that sort of thing. I’d been abused in the past, but this time I was finally going to have a happy ending. I was moving to a foreign country to get married to a police officer I’d known for seven years. I would finally be happy. I had no idea that my entire life would change once more, and I’d be forced to either subject myself to abuse beyond anything I could ever imagine, or end my life unceremoniously, death by train. The man I thought I loved exploited me beyond comprehension. The damage he left behind will haunt me for the rest of my life. There is no way to seek court justice across international borders against a police officer in a corrupt system. Instead, I seek my custom justice simply by sharing the truth with the world. It’s been 10 years since I escaped, beating all odds. Most don’t survive. I know that now, I didn’t know that then.
A horrifying, moving and critical memoir, Amanda Blackwood’s Custom Justice details her sexual, physical, and emotional abuse experiences as a victim of sexual violence and human trafficking.
At the tender age of four years old, little Amanda was first distressed when she was molested by her brother. They had both started taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication. Even though she had been diagnosed by a doctor and found to be fine, her mother would make her take part of her brother’s medication. This was the beginning of a heart-breaking series of sexually violent acts against her which damaged her emotions, mind and in many ways, traumatized her young life. At the age of eighteen, she encountered her first trafficker who was also her trusted boyfriend.
The work includes significant information regarding human trafficking, specifically, adult trafficking. Blackwood’s history of abuse became a precursor to her human trafficking experiences. By the age of eighteen, she had experienced multiple acts of sexual aggression and felt isolated. To survive, she became numb to the world. She endured three experiences of human trafficking, and it was only seven years later after her last experience that she was able to recognize the experiences as forms of human trafficking. The late realization shows the need for sensitization on adult trafficking. The work also sheds light on the legal challenges a victim encounters in proving a trafficking crime, especially, across international borders and for a victim above eighteen years. All three cases happened when she was above the age of eighteen and with people she knew. The writing is impeccable, exploring her emotions through each incident and experience. The plot goes back and forth between her past experiences and a meeting with her therapist. It creates a link that connects the past with the present in which her reaction and opinions are examined. Precise descriptions are employed to paint striking images of the book’s scenes which involve shocking psychological and sexual violence and emotional trauma. Beyond the pain, the work also carries an uplifting message of resilience and survival. I found Amanda’s story to be unlike any of have ever read. I was completely caught up with emotion and sadness for what she had endured, and captivated and inspired by how she overcame and survived it all.
Human trafficking survivors will find hope in Custom Justice by Amanda Blackwood. It is a well-written, informative, and important read about adult trafficking and the extensive impact of sexual assault. Custom Justice by Amanda Blackwood is engaging, moving, and captivating and comes highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews. Book reviewed by Edith Emunah for Artisan Book Reviews.
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