I'm pleased to introduce you to my new book, which is now available for pre-order. It's the story of two girls whose narratives are drawn from my experiences working with sex workers' daughters in Mumbai, India, as well as the many years I've counselled young people in international schools.
You may find the lives of the brothel-raised children hard to read about but acknowledging and understanding their lives is the first step to helping them. Growing up in a brothel is difficult, fraught with hardship and danger, yet the girls I came to know were optimistic and determined to forge a better future for themselves and their families. One of the first things every girl told me, when I asked about her goals, was that she wanted to get a job outside of the red-light district so she could rescue her mother. Working with these girls was inspiring but also heartbreaking; not every girl made it out. FIFTEEN LANES reflects that reality.
Here's what my publisher at Penguin Random House has to say about FIFTEEN LANES:
Noor has lived all of her fourteen years in the fifteen lanes of Mumbai’s red light district. Born into a brothel, she is destined for the same fate as her mother: a desperate life trapped in the city’s sex trade. She must act soon to have any chance of escaping this grim future.
Across the sprawling city, fifteen-year-old Grace enjoys a life of privilege. Her father, the CEO of one of India’s largest international banks, has brought his family to Mumbai where they live in unparalleled luxury. But Grace’s seemingly perfect life is shattered when she becomes a victim of a cruel online attack.
When their paths intersect, Noor and Grace will be changed forever. Can two girls living in vastly different worlds find a common path?
Award-winning author S.J. Laidlaw masterfully weaves together their stories in a way that resonates across class and culture. Fifteen Lanes boldly explores the ties that bind us to places and people, and shows us that the strongest of bonds can be forged when hope is all but lost.