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26 Jul 2010

Stopping the Traffic

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July 26, 2010 Category: Education Posted by:

By Denise Clay

When most people see the names Zane and Allison Hobbs on a bookstore marquee, they expect to hear about the kinds of empowering erotic adventures that
give women ideas that will make their men break out in a cold sweat.

But when two of the most prolific authors of erotic fiction sat down for a book reading and interview at North Philadelphia’s Art Sanctuary last Friday
night, they were talking not about female empowerment, but about the ultimate in sexual subjugation: the trafficking of girls as young as 13 for sex.

As part of its Summer Reading Series, Art Sanctuary presented a conversation between Zane and Hobbs regarding Hobbs’ new book, Stealing Candy
and the subject matter that inspired it, human sex trafficking.

Because sex trafficking is a $7 billion business, girls as young as 5 are being targeted according to the FBI, and the topic has been in the news
thanks to the arrest of Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for the third-degree rape of a girl who had been kidnapped by a trafficker, Hobbs
and Zane felt that the time was now to get the message out.

“We want to raise awareness,” Hobbs said. “Most people think that this is something that only happens in Third World Countries, but it isn’t. Parents
need to know about this.”

Hobbs decided to write Stealing Candy after returning from an appearance in Detroit as part of her last book tour. She dreaded the thought of
going to the city because of what had happened to her when she went to summer youth arts camp there.


“I was molested,” she said, “so I could feel what the characters are feeling. If it could happen to me then, imagine how rampant it is running now.
This was cathartic for me.”

It is also important for parents to know that while television might portray traffickers as the stereotypical “dirty old man”, the men doing the bulk
of the trafficking these days don’t fit this stereotype, Zane said.

“In the Maryland/DC area where I live, a bunch of girls were found in a hotel in Annapolis,” she said. “They were being pimped out; being taken to
Atlantic City to be prostitutes. A friend of mine’s daughter was also kidnapped from a teenage party. She was being pimped out in her Catholic School
uniform. She and her friend had been lured away by someone their own age.”

In Stealing Candy, Hobbs tells the story of three young women from different backgrounds that find themselves kidnapped and forced into having
sex with men for money. Initially, the girls are assumed to be runaways and little time is spent looking for them. But that changes when a former
madame decides to make rescuing them her cause.

Hobbs brought the idea for the book to Zane whose Random House imprint Strebor Books has published all of her books. In addition to the book, there is
also a website,, that gives more details on teen sex trafficking, the resources available and what parents can do to protect their

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