After my doula‘s recent recommendation of this brief memoir, I purchased this book not realizing I would have the opportunity to meet the author, Laura Parker, a week later.
Though this book is short, it is not an easy read. Sex trafficking is never an easy subject matter.
With names and locations changed for the purpose of protection and privacy, The Exodus Road: A Wife’s Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue recounts Matt and Laura Parker’s unexpected immersion into sex trafficking investigation and rescue during their time as missionaries in Malaysia.
While in Malaysia working with missions and NGO’s, Matt and Laura were made aware of the need for men to investigate the child sex-trafficking tragedy going on in their surrounding area, in a country with some of the highest rates in the world. Most organizations and men didn’t want to put themselves at risk.
Eventually, Matt and two of his friends felt compelled to put themselves on the front line. Not only were they risking their safety, but they also risked their reputations. In order to be successful, they would have to pose as clients and pedophiles. (I think that is the part that would be most difficult for me. I trust my husband absolutely in this area, but both the potential loss of reputation and the knowledge of the heavy emotional burden this type of work requires are what seems would be most challenging to endure.) Laura recounts these struggles, both her own and her husband’s.
Having heard Laura speak briefly, I am even more challenged by her faith and her openness. The risk that she and Matt took was huge, and the emotional scars continue to show as Laura and her family work in the States. Yet, as a result of their few years there, many lives were saved, both physically and potentially spiritually. The organization they subsequently founded, The Exodus Road, is now operating on a larger scale, continuing to try to rescue children and young women from the sex trade.
At times, the book seemed extra short, yet due to the subject matter and the personal aspects of this book, it was probably wise to keep it on the shorter side. The book also gives updates and a number or resources for learning more about The Exodus Road and other slave-rescue organizations.
This book is one of many books dealing with the sex-trafficking epidemic, but particularly helpful due to the personal nature and insight it provides.