Out of the cages by Penny Jaye is a confronting book because it tells the fictional story of what is reality for many young girls. 12-year-old Meena and her friend were growing up in poverty in Nepal, when they were promised good jobs in India. Instead they find themselves working in a brothel.

Meena is rescued during a police raid, but her difficulties continue as she adjusts to her new situation. Her poor self-esteem and lack of trust in adults, means she makes some poor choices. However, there is hope. Meena finds help at a rescue home for girls in similar circumstances. They understand her plight, provide counselling and physical help. The book ends with a sense of optimism that she will be able to come to terms with all that has happened to her.

The story intersperses Meena’s current situation, with flash backs—typeset in a different font. These were the hardest part of the book to read (but easy to skip over, if the content is too confronting). We discover exactly how Meena and her friend were tricked into going to India. The number of adults complicit in their abduction is shocking and makes sex trafficking difficult to stop. Its quite sickening to think that anyone would treat young girls so badly, and to know there are thousands of girls like them.

The book is honest and objective in its approach. Penny did a good job of leaving out descriptions of sex scenes, but still lets the reader know what happened. It is well-written and well put together.

I can’t say it was an enjoyable read, but it was worthwhile.