A new manga called“Abolitionista!” is educating young women and men to be aware of predators who might get them into prostitution and sexual slavery. The creation of Thomas Estler, with art by Delilah Buckle & Lizabeth R. Jimenez, it tells the story of 12-year-old Eden, whose best friend gets seduced into the world of human sex trafficking by a handsome pimp.
While the ultimate purpose of “Abolitionista!” is educational—there are even pull-out hotline cards in the back for children who might be the targets of underage prostitution—it also works as an enjoyable, if somewhat harrowing, shoujo manga.
Eden and her friend are believable and complex characters in their own right. The character of the pimp is especially interesting, in that he is initially presented and drawn as a very handsome and charming manga-style love interest; when the story reveals his true nature as a pedophile and pimp, it is quite jarring.
“Abolitionista!” was funded on Kickstarter and is made in conjunction with a group called Freedom Ladder, a community of manga and comic book lovers against human trafficking. One of their goals is to make this manga free or low-cost to schools, NGOs, corporations, associations, and others to use as an awareness tool; you can read more about sponsorships and the like here.
Comic books can be used so effectively to teach masses of people anything from the classics of literature to issues of social justice—it would be great to see more works like “Abolitionista!”