Sex Trafficking and Innocence lost: An Interview with the Author of Lydia’s Song

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Lydia’s Song takes you on a journey to Cambodia where the people, culture and the life of adventure seeking expats capture your imagination. And just when you’re about to get comfortable with the slow pace of life and developing romance, evil strikes. Song a young girl is kidnapped and ends up as a victim of sex trafficking.

LydiasSongWhen I (on behalf of unleashed heart) was first given the opportunity to read Lydia’s song I hoped it would be compelling and informative but what I wasn’t expecting was how emotionally invested I would become in the main character – Song. Although a work of fiction the book manages to capture the complex web of issues that surround and fuel the sex industry.

By bringing up this difficult and disturbing topic in such an engaging way the author enables us to enter into a world that seems far removed from us yet real and unmerciful to many vulnerable children.

In conclusion the book enables us to see God’s hand in those who give their lives to bring hope and restoration to the victims.

Tackling this difficult topic is certainly not for the faint-hearted. I wanted to find out more about the author and what led her to delve into such difficult terrain.  

The Interview

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Katherine Blessan

 Tell me about yourself?

I was raised in Norfolk in the market town of Dereham and attended high school in Norwich. My childhood was safe and predominantly happy. I am an English and Creative Writing tutor as well as a mother and a writer.

Having completed a BA and MA at the Universities of Hull and Sheffield, I tried to break into the publishing industry as an editor. Although I did work in publishing for a few years, the right doors never opened for me to become an editor. Feeling uninspired with where my life was I ended up going travelling and working as TEFL teacher in Australia for a year.

What inspired you to write Lydia’s song?

Essentially, it was the fact that I went to live in Cambodia as a teacher that sparked the whole thing. The first time  I went to Cambodia in 2006 to work with a Christian NGO I was staying with a family in Ratanakiri province. On one occasion, while resting on a hammock on their porch a servant was sweeping underneath me and I remember feeling embarrassed by this. Suddenly the essential idea for the plot for Lydia’s Song hit me, almost like divine inspiration.

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At this point I didn’t really know much about the sex-industry, nor did I know much about what life was like in Cambodia as I’d only been there a couple of weeks. But the strength of the story idea kept me going, as well as wanting to expose something of the injustices of the industry.

 What challenges did you face while researching and writing the book?

The research involved talking to one or two people who had worked in anti-trafficking organizations in Cambodia and reading books. The research was not arduous in itself; it was inspirational and informative especially ‘Terrify No More’ by Gary Haugen and Gregg Hunter. This spurred me on with my own mission to write a story that reflected hard truths as well as the love of God.

As a parent how does child sex trafficking affect you and what role did it have in your decision to write Lydia’s Song?

Being a parent had nothing to do with my decision to write Lydia’s Song as the idea came nearly three years before I got married and four years before the birth of our first child. Nevertheless, being a parent does make you aware of the need to protect your own children from such horrors and makes you understand other parent’s fears more.

What would you like to see happen to change the situation?

The sticky web of lies and corruption that permeate the whole sick industry needs to be broken. You can see it even in our own country with the Rotherham child-sex abuse sex scandal taking years before the truths were uncovered.

I would like to see the testimony of victims of abuse taken more seriously regardless of age, status or ethnicity, and that the rich and powerful are not protected by a bubble of privilege for so long (as was seen in the Jimmy Saville case).

Thank God for organizations like Hope for Justice and IJM who are working tirelessly to ensure that justice is done and that chains are broken.

You can get a copy of Lydia’s Song on Amazon

Connect with Katherine on twitter or on her website;

Katherine tweets @kathblessan

About Katherine

Other stories by Katherine Blessan;