Roadmap to Hell: Sex, Drugs and Guns on the Mafia Coast

Oneworld Pubs. Mar. 2018. 352p. photos. maps. notes. ISBN 9781786072559. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781786072566. CRIME
This book explores the seamy side of migration to scenic southern Italy. Observing that boats from North Africa have become increasingly filled with Nigerian women, journalist Nadeau (Angel Face: Sex, Murder, and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox) traces their lives in Italy, where prostitution is legal. Original interviews and stories collected from rescue workers, public officials, patrons of sex workers, and the female victims of sex slavery themselves form the core of this graphic narrative. Shelters staffed by Catholic nuns are described along with similar havens subject to corrupt government payment schemes. Later chapters discuss the criminal culture and inefficiencies of modern-day Italy as well as factors that drive migration to this economically challenged European nation. Possible solutions to this dire social problem with links to the drug trade and terrorism are reviewed in a final chapter. Endnotes reflect the author's journalistic background. Questions remain about the need for state regulation of sex work.
VERDICT Darker than Helene Stapinski's Murder in Matera, this timely and troubling exposé should appeal to a similar audience willing to embrace an unromanticized view of Italian life.
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