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The Dark Side of Research

As a writer I have to do a lot of research. I’m all over the place, genre-wise, so that means I have to be open minded and willing to try new things. Most of the time that’s good, but not always. For every good character or concept in a book there should be something that balances it. And what balances good better than evil? That, unfortunately, means digging into some of the darker sides of humanity in some cases. There are things I’ve learned that I can’t honestly say I’m better off for knowing.

I recently finished Black Widow, a book that caps off a series about a woman who was sexually abused as a child. She took that experience and gained strength from it, becoming a champion for other victims. She becomes a detective who focuses on helping out abused women and children, with a special interest in destroying anything resembling human trafficking. And that, my friends, is what this post is about.

The media is too concerned with which politician was born where and whether they filed their taxes right to care about important issues. Human trafficking, most generally with sexual slavery intentions, is very real and it’s very much alive even here in the United States. I’ve read some accounts and seen some footage that is deeply disturbing. Heart-wrenching, even. As a father or two young children the thought of anything like that ever happening to them is enough to justify nearly any punishment for such offenders. Yet unfortunately, so few of them are ever caught. Meanwhile we have high level members of our government and military being slapped in the wrist for being caught with child pornography.

The numbers are overwhelming when it comes to the people affected by abductions and trafficking. Not just the children taken and abused, but their families and friends that will forever be changed by it as well. It’s easy to get caught up in the landslide of numbers and assume there’s no real impact or difference one person can do. And maybe that’s right, maybe turning in the creepy guy at the mall that keeps following the teenage girls in skirts up the escalator time after time won’t make a difference in the overall numbers. But what about the girl he picks to follow out to her car, slip a rag filled with chloroform over her mouth and nose, and then toss into the trunk of his car? Would it make a difference to her if somebody would have said or done something?

I’m by no means a public spokesman for doing the right thing, nor do I have any ties to law enforcement, but you can bet your ass I keep an eye out for things that are just plain wrong. All I’m asking is that everyone else do the same thing.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

  1. August 21, 2012 at 19:26

    I guess I’m one of those loud mouths that stick my nose in everywhere. I get “looks” but who cares. It can’t hurt to speak up, especially in front of others!

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