Somebody's Daughter: Inside an International Prostitution Ring - Phonse Jessome

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley


                Recently there has been much debate about what the correct response to prostitution should be.  Should sex work be made legal?  Should the buying of intercourse be outlawed but not the selling?  A total ban perhaps?


                I don’t know.  My opinion changes and changes.  And damn, I don’t know.


                One thing that practically everyone can agree on, at least I hope so, is that underage prostitution needs to end.  Though detailing a case from the mid-1990s, Jessome’s Somebody’s Daughter is a good example of way this should be so.  


                Jessome’s book details the investigation into a prostitution/trafficking ring that funneled girls from Nova Scotia and other areas into Montreal and Toronto.  The ring was controlled largely by men from the Halifax area.  Jessome is mostly concerned with following the outcome of the investigation as well as the struggles of some of the young girls to leave prostitution behind.  He also chronicles how the young girls became prostitutes and what their lives were like while in “The Game”.


                While Jessome does present a brief outline of the rise of prostitution in the area, and hints at the vast amount of money that can be earned, the focus is primary on the more personal stories.  This is hardly surprising because personal stories have an impact that raw statics do not have.  I did find myself wishing at times that I had better grasp of the finical situation.  How much in raw numbers did the various women in each “stable “bring in, for instance.  That aside, Jessome’s writing is gripping.  He does not make the young girls into hapless and passive victims.  The ones that he chooses to follow come from varying circumstances, so you are not hearing the same stories over and over again.