"Renting Lacy:" A Rainy Day Reading Recommendation


Do you ever find yourself wondering what book you should read next? Well, look no further, I recommend making yourself a cup of tea and settling in with a fuzzy blanket on a rainy day to take a crack at a page-turner written by Linda Smith, a U.S. Representative who founded Shared Hope International. The book is titled, “Renting Lacy, A Story of America’s Prostituted Children,” and it covers the clandestine subject that does not get nearly enough coverage: human trafficking of the United States of America’s children.


“Renting Lacy” is a call-to-action that follows the fictional journey based on true events of several young girls who are reported as being “missing” from their families. Cassie, Lacy, and Millie were lured into an unfamiliar lifestyle of prostitution through promises of a better life; a life of glamour they have never been used to beforehand; and a false sense of validation, love, and affection from their mutual pimp, Bobby.

The children face abuse, manipulation, and other heinous, subversive methods of torture throughout their experience as trafficked children. In Cassie’s case, she was taken from her grandmother’s home in Nebraska to Las Vegas by her pimp, who had nicknamed her “Star.” To everyone back home, she was reported as being an ‘endangered runaway,’ but additional details were not provided.

Bobby ensured her that she would become famous because of her looks and talent. He convinced her that she was meant to be a model. He took advantage of her and he booked her into promiscuous photoshoots that quickly escalated into having to sleep with several men each night to complete the quota that he had set for “Star.” Bobby’s ability to keep Cassie infatuated with him, despite the trauma, was the glue that kept her stuck in the system.

Millie, on the other hand, was able to not fall prey to this trap with the help of Lacy and was able to return to her family. Once Lacy escaped the system as well, she chose to become a part of a women’s shelter instead of reverting back to a familiar lifestyle.

Throughout the gripping narrative, Smith includes commentary and thought-provoking readings providing statistics, intriguing insight, and additional details about the gravity of human trafficking conditions. Smith does an excellent job of conveying the message of domestic sex trafficking with this book in a way that ignites anger in her readers.

The review of “Renting Lacy” by Ernie Allen, the President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, highlights that the contents of the book “...will shock...outrage...sadden...” Allen’s “hope is that all will be spurred to action.”

After reading this book, I can agree with that sentiment and I am sure you will, too! I am much more interested in finding ways to combat this problem than ever before. I also really appreciate the attached discussion guide with the book because it clearly identifies ways that the layman can help out with the cause.

I hope that you will consider adding “Renting Lacy” to your summer reading lists and it motivates you to raise awareness and bring about positive changes to the system of human trafficking. The book is available for purchase at any digital retailer, as well as several bookstores throughout the country. If you are lucky, it may even be at your local library!


About the Author

Mrinalini Nagarajan.png

Mrinalini Nagarajan is a junior at University of Maryland, College Park studying Criminology & Criminal Justice as her major, and Cybersecurity and Spanish as her minors. In her free time, she likes to work for her school's athletics department, watch Game of Thrones, only seasons 1-8 of How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Dexter, and Parks & Recreation, plan creative events, and take really long naps. She is super excited to be partnering with Dressember to publish educational content regarding the fight to end modern day slavery.