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  • Author pens book on human trafficking

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  • VICTORVILLE — When Monica Gloria decided to pen her first book, the San Gabriel native chose to scale a mountain of a topic.
    In her fictional novel “Innocent Labor,” Gloria takes on the subject of human trafficking, one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. An estimated 100,000 children are being victimized.
    “It’s a fictional piece, but the story is pulled straight from the streets, back alleys and dark corners where women and children are the main targets of the trade,” said Gloria, who lives and writes from her home in Victorville. “It may be fiction, but the subject matter is very real.”
    “Innocent Labor” will be released Saturday during a special book launch and meet-and-greet in Hesperia.
    Gloria’s book centers around a woman, Elena Munoz, who survived a traumatic event in college and is going through therapy to help her deal with personal issues. When she becomes a school counselor, Munoz is pulled into the world of human trafficking after a high school student goes missing and she decides to take action.
    Munoz discovers that children are being abducted and sold, and there are rumors circulating about an auction taking place, which Munoz is determined to stop.
    After years of reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, Gloria said she decided to write her novel after she had a dream.
    “In my dream, this lady was trapped in a cage and I felt like she was asking me to tell her story,” Gloria said. “From dream to publication, the book took about two years to complete.”
    Like the Munoz character, Gloria was pulled into the arena of human trafficking as she researched the subject by speaking with representatives of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which operates the online site polarisproject.com.
    Gloria said she met with Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who introduced ACR 6, a bill which recognizes the month of January as Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In addition, the resolution designates Feb. 1 as California’s Free From Slavery Day.
    “Most people are clueless about human trafficking,” Gloria said. “I want people to read the book and to realize that what they are reading is actually happening all over the country. Woman and children are being sold into the sex and service trades.”
    During her research, Gloria said she came across a story of two teenage girls who attended rave parties. The girls were drugged, kidnapped, brainwashed and eventually sold into the sex slave industry.
    She said the story “really hit home” when she heard about a local rave where “young girls were dropped off by parents and told to find their way home.”
    “Some girls hitchhiked to the party and then back home again,” Gloria said. “All of these girls could have been snatched and sold.”
    Gloria said she has tried to warn her own son about the dangers of the sex trade and what could happen if he ever let his guard down.
    “I want him to realize that I’m telling the truth,” Gloria said. “I don’t want him to realize that I’m right while he’s in the trunk of a car.”
    Besides shedding light on the human trafficking issue, Gloria said she wants her book to empower people by teaching them “how not to be a potential victim.”
    Gloria said she loves to write because she can still “play pretend in a fictional way,” and she can live her life through the people that she brings to life on paper.
    “I hope that people will enjoy the book and feel my passion through the story and the characters,” Gloria said. “The book really was a true labor of love.”
    Gloria’s book can be purchased online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and smashwords.com.
    The “Innocent Labor” book launch is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hi Desert Book Oasis, 12046 Jacaranda Road, Suite A, across from Victor Valley College. For more information, visit www.monicagloria.com or www.facebook.com/MonicaGloriaWrites.
    Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
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