At 24, Shyima Hall has been through more than most people have in a lifetime. The woman has now written a book entitled Hidden Girl that documents her tremendous, tragic experiences.
The book centers on the fact that when Hall was an 8-year-old girl in Egypt, she was sold into slavery. The trafficking occurred after Hall’s older sister was accused of stealing something from her family’s wealthy employer, Abdel Nasser Eid Youssef Ibrahim. The man, along with his wife Amal Admed Ewis-Abd El Motelib, demanded that Hall be given to them as retribution.
Hall claims that when she walked away from her mother and towards the couple, she heard her mother tell her “this is for the good of the family.” According to the Daily Mail, Hall spent the next several years being regularly beaten by the couple, forced to live in a jail-like room and essentially treated like a slave.
After a few years, the abusive family that had purchased Hall ultimately decided to move to Irvine, California. It was this move that may have saved Hall’s life.
While Hall and her family were living in California, the United States’ child services received an anonymous tip indicating that the child existed and was living under extreme abuse.
Two years after living in captivity within the California home, Hall was finally freed. Ibrahim and Motelib were arrested by the officers that stormed the home to grab Hall, and both are served two to three years in prison. Motelib was subsequently deported to Egypt, and Ibrahim’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
When she was released however, her own father expressed his disappointment that she had disrespected her captors, who her father claimed “had put a roof over [her] head.” In response to Hall’s own family not welcoming her back, she decided to stay in the United States, where she became a citizen in 2011. She now has a boyfriend and a young daughter in the country.
Hall claims that she wrote Hidden Girl to highlight the fact that slavery is still in existence throughout much of the world.
“I want people to know this can happen. Slavery is not in the history book. It’s right next to you,” Hall said to People Magazine.
According to the End It Movement, a leading organization dedicated to anti-slavery causes, there are over 27 million individuals currently working as slaves (through child trafficking, forced prostitution, and a variety of other examples) throughout the globe.