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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In I'm Not Your Slave by Eric Reese, as young Imtiyaaz waits to board her flight at Jakarta International Airport, she believes that a brighter future is within her grasp. Thankfully she was introduced to Ishmael who ran a recruitment agency for the hospitality industry, and could finally escape her father. Imtiyaaz can now fulfill her dream of completing her education and maybe then her father will show her the love and attention she yearns for. Maybe he will stop his daily condemnation and know in his heart that losing his wife during childbirth was not her fault. As Imitiyaaz arrives at the hotel, she discovers that not only her belongings and documents have been taken from her, but so have her dreams. When a man arrives at the door of her hotel room, the reality of her situation becomes clear. The men keep arriving to use her at will, taking her self respect with them. Imtiyaaz is trapped, alone and scared. Will she ever find a way to escape.
The subject matter of this book is rarely spoken about, and it has been written about here with brutal honesty. The use of flashbacks really helped me understand the backstory of the characters and the complex relationship between Imtiyaaz and her father. I thought the father's character was so broken due to losing his soulmate, the conflict within himself of wanting to show affection to his daughter but being unable to so was heartbreaking. I believe that if the father had been able to overcome his grief then maybe Imtiyaaz would not have left her native Indonesia. The horrific abuse Imtiyaaz experienced was related well, and showed how easily a young girl can fall into the trap of human trafficking under the guise of genuine work abroad. The narrative was descriptive and brought a harsh realism to the story. I thought the character development of Imtiyaaz was good and her determination to leave was executed perfectly in accordance with her personality. The scene between the main character and the police was chilling as she realizes that any chance of escape is futile. This is an eye-opening story that will send shivers down your spine as you realize that the problem of human trafficking still exists today.