It's hard to believe that I came up with the idea for THE DUTY BOUND DUET almost two years ago! A shocking new story about young girls being groomed and passed around a group of paedophiles in the north of England prompted me to research the subject.
To my utter disbelief, I found out that young people, girls especially, where being taken from their families all around the world; they were kidnapped, beaten and forced into a sinister world of sexual slavery. Being a teacher, around teenagers for much of my time, I found the whole idea almost too disturbing to accept. How could human beings behave in such a depraved way, not only exploiting their own family members, but subjecting the very young to the most horrific of treatment?
Not only how could they, but why would they?
The answer was simple—MONEY!
Sex trafficking is a billion-dollar business!
With that bewildering fact buzzing around in my brain, I set about writing DUTY OF CARE. Like most of us, Emily has no idea of the extent to which young girls are being exploited and abused; like us she knows even less about the Dark Web and the monsters lurking in the shadows, seemingly anonymous and concealed in a labyrinth of coding.
Let’s hope we never have to face a situation like that. Sadly, for a lot of families, hope is not enough. Social media has found its way into all our homes; the young take it for granted, texting, FaceTime, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok. These media forms can have a positive effect on the young by keeping them well informed, they can express themselves freely and establish friendship groups with like-minded people while having fun, but can the positives be outweighed by the negative impact of spending up to 27 hours a week connected to social media.
For some it’s a form of escapism, not only from school but from actually doing anything more physical or productive. Worse still, it’s a virtual world, no one is what they seem; what appears to be a friendly relationship can lead to bullying. How many times have we heard of cyber-bullying resulting in a suicide? Too many times!
If all those things weren’t bad enough, there is the biggest fear of all; the person chatting with your son or daughter is not what or who they appear to be. Predators online may use fake profiles to appear younger or appear as someone your child may recognise. As a mother, I would suggest that there is nothing more terrifying than finding out my daughter is being groomed by a paedophile!
Turn that individual into a ring; a well-organised and predatory organisation, and you have the makings of a thrilling read!
I ask you, my reader, to imagine what you would do if the one you loved became entangled in the Dark Web. Would you walk away? Or would you face up to those profiting from the suffering of the innocent and seek revenge?
If you read DUTY OF CARE and THE CARETAKERS, it becomes clear what the female protagonist, Emily Parsons, does; not only as a reprisal for the way her sister had been treated, but as the protector of the innocent. She feels duty bound to dole out the kind of justice dictated by someone who considers themselves, judge, jury and prosecutor.