by Dennis Dalman
A disturbing new novel by Dennis Herschbach of Sartell will take center stage at Celebration Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 10 when the author and other concerned citizens will discuss the grim topic of sex-trafficking. The public is invited. The sponsors of the meeting are members of Celebrate Freedom Task Force, a group from Celebration Lutheran Church determined to alert the public about the horrors of sex-trafficking of girls, women, boys and even babies.
Herschbach, too, is so mortified by the worldwide problem he made it the topic of his novel, A River Through Two Harbors, which is a work of fiction but based solidly on actual facts. The book is Herschbach’s third mystery novel, all of which take place in or near Two Harbors, Minn. where he once lived and taught.
At the July 10 meeting, Herschbach will read excerpts from his book.
The “river” in the novel refers to the flow of victims that go through Two Harbors on the way to the harbor in Duluth, where they are sold as sex slaves on the ships that dock there. Most of the victims are Native girls and women from the Thunder Bay area of Ontario who are coerced and captured by white or African-American pimps and then sold.
Herschbach refers to an Aug. 4, 2013 story in the Minneapolis Tribune to underline the devastation of the sex-trafficking problem that occurs practically under everyone’s noses. The story was written by Christine Stark, author of Nickels: A Tale of Dissociation. Stark is part Anishinabe and part Cherokee.
“”Native women and teens are coerced and groomed into prostitution through gangs, organized crime and other networks,” Stark writes. “The Duluth harbor is notorious among Native Indian people as a site for trafficking Native women from northern reservations . . . It was found the activity includes international transport of Native Indian women and teens, including First Nation women and girls brought down from Thunder Bay, Ontario to be sold on the ships. Native women, teen girls and boys, and even babies have been sold for sex on the ships.”
In her story, Stark claims the following to be indisputable facts many people would prefer to ignore or deny:
● That Native Indian women are the only group who are predominately assaulted by men outside their race. And in prostitution, the vast majority of pimps are white or African-American.
● That trafficking of Native Indian women is rampant in northern Minnesota. The victims are coerced and groomed into prostitution through gangs and organized crime.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.