In the novel Cold Aim by former police officer Janice Cantore, a young woman named Charlotte (Chevy) is sheltered in Rogue’s Hollow. Chevy is a victim of human trafficking and is a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case. Though Cold Aim is fiction, it addresses a very real issue: the crime of human trafficking. In the following article, read what Janice shared about how people can help stop the crime.
In my book Cold Aim, I wanted to show how faith and restoration can come out of any situation—even deplorable crimes like human trafficking. This is one of the faces of slavery in our modern world: a violent, surprisingly prevalent crime. It’s hard to stop, and it can happen anywhere. Two women in the novel, Heather and Charlotte (Chevy), are victims of the crime. Heather escapes and builds a life for herself, changing her name and living for years in fear that the traffickers will find her again. Chevy is rescued, but her rescuers fear she may try to escape and return to her captor because of a perverse belief that he really cares for her.
Human trafficking is dehumanizing in so many ways. It’s modern-day slavery, but it is much more insidious than taking people physically captive and locking them up in chains. Trafficking exploitation comes in many forms, including forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to involuntary servitude, and compelling victims to participate in creating pornography. In all its forms, trafficking robs human beings of their God-given dignity, treating them like property to be used and discarded.
I attended a talk by a victim of sex trafficking who had been rescued and was now trying to put her life back together. Trafficked by a man who led her to believe that he loved her, she was brought to the sex trade before she was 18 years old.
Then she explained how hard it was for her to accept being rescued. The trafficker was the first person in her life that made her feel loved, in spite of how he used and abused her. This victim was vulnerable because in her broken home she felt neither love nor safety. Victims like her believe a lie, and it destroys them.
In Cold Aim, there is hope. The young victim I heard speak was saved by the true, unwavering love of Christ. In the book, Heather escapes, and a seed is planted about God, eventually leading her to a saving faith. Then she is able to help Chevy recover and realize the trafficker never loved her, but there is Someone who does.
You can help put a stop to human trafficking. One crucial component is for everyday citizens to simply be aware. Some traffickers have been apprehended because a bystander noticed something off about a girl and the man she was with. Others, because a neighborhood realized there was something wrong at a house near them. Sad to say, this happens in every kind of neighborhood. Most importantly, Christians can pray.
I write my novels to inspire people and draw them to the ultimate love of Jesus Christ. The hope of Christian fiction is always in the Savior we serve. People caught up in any kind of sin can be rescued and restored.
Cold Aim by Janice Cantore
Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.
Tess’s fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue’s Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect.