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Book Review: In Pursuit of Love by Rebecca Bender

Book Review: In Pursuit of Love by Rebecca Bender

Book Review: In Pursuit of Love by Rebecca Bender

21 May 2020

Rebecca Bender tells the story of how she survived and escaped sex trafficking in her new memoir In Pursuit of Love.

Reviewed by Jessica Morris

Author, speaker and minister Rebecca Bender is far more than a sex-trafficking survivor.

In her memoir In Pursuit of Love: One Woman's Journey From Trafficked to Triumphant, she reveals a tenacity that will compel readers to overcome adversity and transform a sex-saturated culture.

Written as a memoir and crime thriller, this true story is heart-wrenching and eye-opening. Rebecca recounts her initiation into the sex trade when as a teenager and single mum, she was left to provide for her child. From here, she vividly details how numerous boyfriends coerced her into the sex industry for six years, normalising her work as one of Las Vegas’ premiere sex workers.

Rebecca’s story is multi-dimensional, and she articulately explains the factors that have impacted her life and decisions – childhood trauma, addiction, fear, Stockholm Syndrome and cultural appropriation of sex – are all expertly integrated into real-time events. In the same way, she shows how God was present throughout her life, and reveals how God still remains with us even when we return to old patterns and destructive behaviours.

Considering there is so much pain and real suffering in these pages, it is a remarkably enthralling read. The fact Rebecca dates chapters and goes into personal detail and characteristics about the people in her life, makes her book read like a novel. Yet there is always the sobering fact that this was her life – and still is the life of an estimated 40.3 million people trafficked around the world today, according to the International Labour Organisation (an agency of the United Nations).

The story of Rebecca Bender is one of triumph, where she bravely fled the life of physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse that she was shackled to for years. Today she works as a speaker and advocate, educating sex-trafficking survivors and allies, and changing the global narrative around human trafficking.

People who work with victims of domestic violence will hardly be shocked by the contents of this book, but for those of us who still feel like human trafficking and sex work is a world away, this memoir is vital and provocative. While written with vulnerability, caution and compassion, it still includes gritty detail about the reality of the sex trade and abuse.

In Pursuit of Love is a crucial and important memoir for a church committed to fighting for the last, the lost and the least.

In Pursuit of Love is available at Koorong and major bookstores.


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