Book Review: “Renting Lacy”

To identify something that you are passionate about, someone once told me, you must find something that makes you angry. This, of course, references a sort of righteous anger. Whether this book is your first exposure to human trafficking or the tenth book you’ve read on the topic,Renting Lacy is sure to fill you with this type of anger, igniting you with passion.

Renting Lacy provides a great crash course for individuals who are just beginning to learn about domestic minor sex trafficking, or the use of American children as commerce. The emphasis on the trafficking of children born in the United States sets this book apart from many other books on human trafficking. Smith weaves together excerpts that appear unconnected at first glance. As the story unfolds, Smith describes the experiences of those who are exploited, distraught family members, law enforcement officers, and pimps alike. All the while, Smith incorporates commentary on empirical trends and current policy, providing a basic understanding of core issues and suggestions for resolutions.
This book has highly disturbing content, graphic in a variety of ways. At times, it could be confused with an erotic novel as Smith describes, in detail, the beginnings of encounters (“dates”) with buyers (“johns”). Smith expresses her concern about the content in the “Acknowledgements” section in the beginning of the book. She recounts her consideration to water down the raw facts to make the book a little more palatable. Smith is correct in her final judgment that a dilution of the truth would be at the expense of the exploited children who are unable to advocate for themselves. The benefit of sharing the crude details is that it sheds light on the cruel reality of the sex trade and spurs to action those who are able to stomach it.
Terminology utilized in “the life” is defined prior to the first chapter, making it a simple read when accounting for comprehension. This type of immersion into the culture is absolutely essential to feel the gravity of this crime. Otherwise a difficult read, Smith does reveal hope in the midst of the darkness. There is hope for survival and hope for healing. There is hope for societal change. There is hope that there will be an increase in laborers for this cause. There is hope that you will be moved to act.
Title: Renting Lacy: A Story Of America’s Prostituted Children (A Call to Action)
Authors: Linda Smith, Cindy Coloma (collaborator)
Publisher: Shared Hope International; 1st edition (April 1, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0976559467