“When we are young, it often is the emotion of an experience that status with us the longest. A child might not remember the details of a bad dream, but the feeling of terror the dream brings can remain for a lifetime. That’s how that day is for me” (Hall 20). The book Hidden Girl is a non-fiction novel that features a gloomy memoir of the author Shyima Hall who went through child slavery when she was 8. This book, full of dark perspectives of this world, informs the readers how human trafficking impacts one’s life.
At the age of eight, Shyima was living in Egypt with her family when her older sister stole something from the family she was working for. Because the family had to pay back the debt for the stolen valuable, they chose Shyima as the solution. Without Shyima being able to understand the situation, she forcefully had to move to another place, torn away from her family. The author tries to connect with the reader by expressing her true feelings at that time. All the fear, misunderstanding, and confusion. She mentions about how people notice the difference between good and bad but still chooses to make the wrong choice. “I know many people who are full of shades of gray. These people can deliberate and debate a decision for weeks and never move forward. Those people walk between the lines of good and bad and never find either.” (198) and “Will you do the right thing, or the wrong? If you do nothing and the person is in need of help, that would be a tragedy. You might be that person’s only hope. You might be the person who changes someone else’s life for the better.” (220) These two quotes show her thoughts towards other people including curiosity-why are they, wrath-how dare they, and tragedy-why did they.
Shyima goes through violence, harassment, and mistreatment from the family she got sent to in Egypt and from the “Captors” that took her with to the US after three years of serving in Egypt. But fortunately, at the end of the day, after all the hard work, Shyima gets rescued from all that tragedy. Though, we may think that the tragedy is over, it was a new chapter of fear and terror for Shyima, of course in a different way. “I was beyond terrified when I was rescued. For years I had been told that if the police came to get me, bad things would happen, things that were far worse than what I’d lived with every day” (Hall 222). She was scared and frightened about the society, people, and everything basically. When she moved to the US and got noticed by the police for rescue, Shyima didn’t know how to speak English. It was something she had to learn. Thankfully, Shyima later got adopted and learned how to speak English, graduated high school, and became a proud US citizen. After all of THIS, she tells us the readers the lessons she’ve learnt from the experiences; “With the help of your vigilant eyes and ears, every child, every person, can live a wonderful life of their choosing” (224), “I believe there is a reason, a purpose, for everything in this life, and I know that my purpose is to help put a permanent stop to this terrible crime” (224).
Like it’s shown in the novel, human trafficking whether or not it’s child slavery, is still a major problem some minorities have to face. A real-life example can be the situation happening in Eritrea. Children in Eritrea are engaged in child labor including in agriculture and street work. Though the government has tried to eliminate the worst happenings, because of the complicit in the use of forced child labor and forced military recruitment of children, there were no clear advancements made. This is a very unfortunate situation that is happening on the other side of the world. The saddest fact is that this is not the only place like it. Some are even worse.
Adults say to us, “Go enjoy your life, make it yours. Nobody lives your life for you.” By these sayings, some of us, kids, get annoyed and vexed without knowing how much of a thankful statement that is. There are kids like the author, Shyima, who wasn’t able to go enjoy her life and make it hers. Nobody actually does live it for you but they might be the ones who live it for you. Like the book’s theme, the human trafficking that causes unimaginable harm should stop for all good causes. Because everybody has a reason and a purpose for everything in this life.