Friday, March 27, 2015

Little Peach Blog Tour

What do you do if you're in trouble?

When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options. 

Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. 

But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 


GC: What can feminists and other activists do to solve the problems presented in Little Peach?

PK: This is a hard question – it’s THE question - and I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer it. It’s frustrating because the issues are so large: poverty, economics, racism, sexism, apathy. It takes a whole society to create the conditions that crush girls like Peach, along with their entire communities. 

I want to say that “awareness” is a starting point – and it is, I suppose – but awareness doesn’t save lives. Awareness doesn’t give victims a safe place to go. Awareness doesn’t rescue anybody.

So. My first suggestion is to find non-profits like GEMS that are on the ground, fighting for victims. Ask them what they need from you, and give as much as you can. 

Also, talk about these girls. Don’t forget about them. And – to your great question about what feminists can do – give your copy of Peach to a guy! The guys need to understand what’s happening. Feminists – us girls, however we define ourselves - are fighting multiple battles on multiple fronts – as we need to, unfortunately.  In the case of sex trafficking, men are the clients. Men are the pimps. Men are (predominantly) law enforcement and the penal system. Maybe, if young men can see these girls as sisters, as friends, as classmates – if they can grieve for Peach like we do – we might be on to something.

Finally, here’s a real-world action to consider. It’s a promise I made to myself after learning all I did from the women I interviewed for the book:

If I’m ever selected for a jury, and the defendant is charged with the crime of prostitution - or a related drug offense - I will vote to acquit her, regardless of the evidence. The technical term for this is “Jury Nullification.” As American citizens, it is our right – our moral duty – to  stand up and say, I will not enforce a law if I feel it is being unjustly applied.

So many of the women who end up incarcerated for prostitution, began that life as trafficked kids. I will not criminalize them for the agony of their lives, for the choices we took away from them as a society. Maybe if enough of us refuse to participate in jailing these women, those in power will take notice.

It’s not enough. But it’s a start. It’s a way to stand up, as citizens, and say No More.

About Peggy Kern:

Peggy Kern has written two books for the Bluford High Series. 
She lives with her daughter in Massachusetts. 

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