My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Did you know that worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade (UNICEF)? What if you could help do something about it? Highway to Hell is the story of two men who set out to shine a light on a dark Brazilian highway and make a difference. Roper, a former journalist for the UK’s Daily Mirror who now freelances, and his friend and fellow activist Dean Brody, a Canadian country musician, don’t just report on this horrific story, they travel the BR-116 for 1500 miles. Stopping at impoverished towns along the way, they meet young girls caught up in the cycle of abuse and exploitation. Not only do they shine a bright light on the problem that many Brazilian officials want to deny or hide away, they pledge to do something about it.
Roper may be a journalist, but Highway to Hell is not an objective newspaper piece. We’ve all read those. We know child prostitution is a problem, but for most of us it is a vague reality far removed from us. We cringe, but feel helpless to do anything about it. Roper’s book immediately humanizes the issue through a chance meeting with a little girl named Leilah. There is no way that the reader can experience this story on anything but a personal level because Roper and Brody experience it that way. These young girls are not just statistics but individuals in need of rescue and justice. Although hard to read due to the heartbreaking nature of the stories, there is also hope. Evil cannot hide once a light is shined in the darkness. Highway to Hell is well-written with heart and obvious passion. But it’s more than that. It’s a call to action, for all of us.
“That this child was quite willing to get into a car with two strangers, on a dark motorway at 1.30 in the morning, within seconds of us pulling up, is something I will never get over” (p. 16).
“If they only knew just how precious they were, how much they were really worth, how fulfilled and meaningful their lives could really be” (p. 76).
“We began to realize that if we were to be successful in rescuing other girls like her, we would have to tackle an entire culture which considered the abuse and exploitation of children as an ordinary, acceptable part of life” (p. 107).
In accordance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
For more information about the work taking place rescuing girls from child prostitution on Brazil’s BR-116 motorway please:
Go to: www.meninadanca.org
P.O. Box 11116
You can contact Matt Roper at:
For another organization that helps exploited girls, check out Rahab’s Rope.
http://www.rahabsrope.com/ : Bangalore, Goa and Navi Mumbai India; Rescuing girls and women from sex trafficking through prevention, direct rescue, education and vocational training.