The following interview was conducted by Malin Roux, founder of RealStars www.realstars.eu
ue book about a twelve-year-old girl's fate as a sex slave
The book, while touching and engaging, also gives a fresh note amongst all the heavy books covering this subject. As always, when I read about sex trafficking, it raises a strong feeling of disgust that people are treated so badly. But in this book that sense of frustration is replaced with hope and confidence in what a single person can do through courage and determination.
How did the idea come about for the book?
The original idea came to me when I lived in Los Angeles. I had a friend who worked as a volunteer in an organization in Calcutta, and she sent me pictures of a six year old girl living on the streets and who was also taking care of her one-year-old brother. It really touched me because these abandoned street-children often became drug addicts, prostitutes or criminals. I did research and was shocked to find how much prostitution existed in India and elsewhere in the world – and this eventually lead me to research the subject of human trafficking. As a result, I wanted to help by writing a book.
Is it entirely fiction?
Not entirely. There is a lot of research built into the plot – the rest fictional. The scenario depicted in the book is however, very real and far from any stretch of the imagination. For instance, I helped that organization in India so that six-year girl was given clothes, food and some education to help rescue her from a bad fate, such as child prostitution – but there are so many more in that same situation. In writing the story, I tried to envision what could be done to help a twelve-year-old trapped in the sex-slave industry, and what could one American along with one Indian policeman actually do to change this girl’s circumstances. In this story, the twelve-year-old girl, Hann'sha, sees an opportunity to get out of the situation and she also decides to save the other children who are being trafficked; it’s an exciting part of the book and it shows something about human character.
What do we do to change and stop sex trafficking?
We need to create channels for people to easily be able to do something - such as reporting about the issue and getting controls put in place to outlaw this criminal activity. This makes Real Stars a real benefit with its petitions to the EU. We have to create awareness of the problem at different levels. It takes time and it is a difficult subject to talk about as it is hard to conceive that today there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people being kept as actual slaves, and trafficked for billions of dollars in profit. For example, if countries put pressure on places where trafficking is not policed, or an embargo similar to that placed on South Africa to force that nation to stop Apartheid, I believe we would see changes in several countries. Children are being exploited as sex slaves and these are serious violations of human rights – and it is happening in many places.
In the book we follow the story of what a person can do, such as using blogs and the internet to create awareness and commitment to helping Hann'sha. How is it that you believe in the individual's inherent power so strongly?
I have lived through various circumstances which have occurred in my life where I have been confronted with situations where I had to do something to save other people’s lives or to prevent violence on them. I didn’t close my eyes or say to myself “that is someone else’s responsibility to deal with”.
What was the challenge of the book?
Although the subject of human trafficking is a terrible one, I wanted to tell a short, simple and heartfelt story about hope – rather than the horror of sexual slavery. I wanted to focus on what people could DO about the situation, rather than exploiting the tragedy of sexual slavery. It is my hope that millions of people will read the book and that awareness on a global scale, will be increased.
Interview with Rèal Laplaine by publishing house ASTEROID PUBLISHING.
Interview with Rèal Laplaine – Intrusion
Q. To your knowledge, does Canadian anti-terrorist activity in real life suggest the existence of action-type hero, resembling Keeno in your novel ‘INTRUSION’?
There is no concrete proof to show that Canada is any more a hotspot, or conduit for terrorist-like activities than other western nation. What makes Canada uniquely suited for this particular story is that Canada has not had a foreign aggression, on its soil, since the War of 1812. There have been internal issues, the “Front de liberation du Quebec”, to name one, but in all, Canada has remained uniquely devoid of these issues, which is one reason I chose to focus the story there. On another note, could the anti-terrorist activities within the RCMP, realistically embrace a character such as Keeno McCole? I think the answer is YES. The RCMP or Royal Canadian Mounted Police, retain an excellent reputation, in the main, within and without Canada. While Hollywood generates a constant stream of films depicting the American CIA, FBI and police agencies as being corrupt and involved in all manner of illegal activities, one rarely hears of the RCMP, which is more or less the equivalent of the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security, all in one. My idea was to spotlight the RCMP with a character who embodied the motto of this agency, in his own way, which is; “we always get our man”.
Q. In your novel, RIFD is the center of attention. What is it in a nutshell?
RFID stands for Radio-Frequency-ID, in other words, a small electronic chip, which is normally planted inside of something, and which transmits information when activated. There are passive RFID chips and active RFID chips. One is more or less dormant until it is activated by an electronic signal, while the other transmits info on a wider range when it is activated. Currently, RFID chips are used in many applications in our lives. Credit cards, passports, IDs, security cards, to name a few, contain these chips. RFID chips exist in products which we buy, allowing them to be tracked by manufacturers to minimize theft. They are used today on pets – to track them, and you will even find parents from America to Japan, placing RFID chip devices on their children, to GPS them, so to speak. In the medical field, they are now being used to track and deal with people who have severe or acute illness.
Q. Why RIFD can become a threat to our freedom? What kind of government in Canada or abroad would likely wish to control its population through RIFD?
To answer this question, let’s put this in perspective. The heir of a very wealthy American banking institution, was reportedly quoted as saying the following: “The ultimate goal is to get everybody in this world chipped with an RFID chip. And to have all the money to be on those chips, and everything on those chips. And if anybody wants to protest what we do or violate what we want, we just turn off their chip.” Even if one disbelieves that statement, there is plenty of evidence pointing to the fact that RFID chips are a very real threat to our freedom, if they are not controlled. For instance, after 9/11, the American government of that time, passed a bill, The Patriot Act, empowering law enforcement agencies to spy on any American they deemed to be a possible threat to national security. The matter was never put to vote, and recently, the bill was signed in again, without asking a single American whether they agreed. Walk down the street in many cities, you find CCTV (Closed-Circuit-TV) cameras staring down at you, on streets, stations, public areas. Britain alone, boasts more CCTVs watching its people, than most any nation? The point being that world events are shaping and redefining our freedom, and people are making decisions without asking us whether we care to be spied on. So what national or international incident could possibly catalyze a government to mandate chipping its citizens to protect them from terrorism? I don’t think it takes a genius to answer that.
Q. Have you done any research before writing this novel? If so, what was its subjects?
Yes. I researched the subject of RFID chipping, its history and its use on people, extensively. According to recent reports, RFID chip implants in people caused cancerous growth around the chip, but that didn’t mean they didn’t work. It is just a matter of time before the technology is brought to a level where the scenario depicted in my novel INTRUSION – is a reality from a technological point of view. I have also extensively researched China, and the PRC (People’s Republic of China – the Communist regime) and my book, intentionally, bringing to light that while China is quickly moving into becoming the largest world-power, economically speaking, that as a Communist regime, and in spite of their PR twist making themselves look “capitalistic” – their aims are not transparent.
Q. You spent many years outside Canada. What country you like the most and why?
America. Yet, I never relinquished my Canadian citizenship despite living in America for over 30 years. I was drawn by the American zeitgeist – a certain dynamic that matched my passions as I was setting out on my career, back in the day.
Q. You like the thrill of risk and adventure. What was the most memorable episode in your life?
Once, on a business trip to New Haven, Connecticut, my associate and I heard a horrendous crash. Running to the scene, we found a car smashed into a tree, its driver semi-conscious and bloody, and as we tried to free him from the vehicle, the engine burst into flames. In truth, had I not had a knife in my pocket, that driver would have burned alive in front of our eyes within seconds, but as it was, I was able to cut him free from his seat-belt, drag him from the car, and as he regained consciousness he informed us that he had friend in the back seat. Of course, the front-end of the car was, by now, consumed in flames and filled with smoke, so we couldn’t see a thing. We managed to find another man, unconscious in the back, tried to pull him through the window only to have his leg get caught under the seat, and there we stood, holding this man partially outside this burning vehicle, just waiting for the gas tank to explode. Fortunately, emergency crew showed up within seconds, doused the flames (and us) and two men survived. A year later, I received a call in Los Angeles, from a woman who invited me to her wedding in New Haven. She was marrying one of the men whom we saved. I learned a lot from that singular incident. You find out what you’re made of when your back is against the wall and you have to make life-and-death decisions.
Q. How long have you been writing?
Officially – just under two years. Unofficially, I started honing my skills years ago, but my work and my travels at the time precluded having the time to take books to official publication status.
Q. What your next book will be about?
My next book, being introduced to publishers here in Europe, is entitled FINDING AGNETHA, a fiction story about the Swedish group ABBA. A story about a young boy’s search for Agnetha Fältskog, the blond singer from the band, in an attempt to get the group to perform again for world, after some twenty five years.
Interview with Réal Laplaine in AFTONBLADET, www.aftonbladet.se SUNDAY, 17 JULY 2011
Aftonbladet is one of the two national Swedish daily newspapers. It is read by about 3,000,000 readers on an average daily.
Headline: `ABBA performs on the island where Agnetha lives`
Interview by: Jessica Isaksson – reporter for Aftonbladet
A MOMENT … Réal Laplaine, 56, who has written a book about ABBA’s reunion after having seen “Mama Mia”.
Real: “The story is about an 11 year old boy who loves ABBA and decides to run away from his parents in USA, who are on the verge of divorce, and go to Sweden to convince ABBA to perform again. “
Q: Does it have a happy ending?
Real: “Yes, but it is excitement to the end. Following the pressure from people across the world, who hear about the rumored reunion ABBA concert, through the internet, and who are following the young boys’ adventure, ABBA finally performs on the island where Agnetha lives (Ekerö). The members of the group first have to talk through their own problems. The performance echoes across the whole world, and media from all over arrives to this small island in Sweden, to cover the live performance.“
Q: Have you seen ABBA live yourself?
Real: “No, but I have seen their performances on videos many times.”
Q: Will the book be released?
Real: “It has been sent to a Swedish publishers and will be sent to other publishing companies here in Sweden this upcoming week. “
Q: Finally, what do you wish most of all right now?
Real: “Of course, to get one of my books published here in Sweden would be fantastic, it would be great to get published here in Europe. But above all, I wish that my books will inspire others. I think this book will do that. It is all about a kid that never gives up, against all odds. “
Subsection:Name: Réal Laplaine Age: 56 Lives: Gothenburg, grew up in Canada and later lived in the USA for 30 years before moving to Sweden. Does: Writes Family: Swedish wife News: Has written the book FINDING AGNETHA, which is currently at a publisher for decision about publishing. He has written several books, one is now being published in Canada this fall, INTRUSION – A KEENO ACTION NOVEL.