During a recent trip to Jamaica, I had some down time waiting for my connecting flight and then again waiting in the customs lines in Montego Bay. My mind wandered, as it often does, but this time, it drifted and formed the framework of my novel. The plot line lay in the faces and unspoken stories in the people who milled around me.
Imagine, that among all the excited vacationers and spring breakers, one of the passengers, a woman, acted differently than the others. Instead of bouncing with anticipation, what if she appeared sullen and fearful. More than anxiety, or frustration over the long customs check, the woman in my imagination was afraid. So what would create such a tense, fearful situation? Drug smuggling? Who would bring dope onto the island known for its ganja. A gun runner? Not likely. Human trafficking? Hum…with the constant supply of young women coming to the island for a warm weather frolic, the Caribbean island is a human trafficker’s dream.
So this small kernel of an idea started to germinate. The Caribbean region has a poor record dealing with trafficking, with over three million people trapped in forced labor or prostitution. My imaginary woman has come to the island to find her missing daughter.
She’s tried working with the government from long distance telephone, but the police don’t take her claims seriously. The United States State Department lists Jamaica on the Tier 2 Watch List because of the lack of action against the criminal networks. Not a single conviction last year. My character is a woman who refuses to sit on the sidelines refuses to depend on anyone under normal circumstances. A missing daughter is far from normal. She leans on another parent with a missing child and navigate through a web of corruption and violence.
With no assistance from the island government, a mother searches for her daughter and retraces the girl’s last known steps. What would you do in her situation? Is there anything you wouldn’t do to save your child?
My imagination tends to run to the darker side. After all, something like that couldn’t happen, right?
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