Shyima Hall: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Shyima Hall

Former Child Slave and Author of Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave

When Shyima Hall was eight years old her poverty-stricken Egyptian parents, overwhelmed with close to a dozen children, sold her into slavery. The price? Less than thirty dollars a month. The wealthy Cairo couple who bought Hall moved to California two years later, and smuggled the little girl into the United States.

As a child slave Hall had no friends or family, no emotional support whatsoever. She did not speak a word of English and, after moving to the United States, was thousands of miles and an ocean away from everything that was familiar to her. On top of that, a terrorized Hall was forced to toil sixteen or more hours a day seven days a week for her captor’s family, which included five children––some of whom were near her age. At night Hall slept on a squalid mattress in a windowless garage. A bucket and some water was all Hall had in which to wash herself and her clothes; and she was forbidden from going to school. Hall never visited a doctor or dentist, even when she was very sick with the flu. Additionally, her captors continually berated her and often slapped her.

While Hall was rarely allowed outside the home, neighbors began to suspect something was not quite right. Rumors abounded, and they had glimpses of a small dark-haired girl during times children her age should have been in school. In 2002, acting on a tip from one of those neighbors, child welfare authorities rescued Hall. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigated her case, and her captors were eventually prosecuted, imprisoned, and deported.

Thirteen at the time of her rescue, Hall decided she wanted to stay in the United States. She hasn’t returned to Egypt or seen her family since. While Hall could have chosen to fade into obscurity, she has decided on a much different path. Now twenty-four, Hall speaks to groups across the country about combating human trafficking, and has briefed ICE agents about the emotional and physical trauma that victims endure.

Hall’s dream is to become a federal agent for ICE to help crack down on human trafficking and free the enslaved. And, she took a major step toward that goal in December 2011 when she became a citizen of the United States.

Hall discusses her life in her book Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave, written with Lisa Wysocky. Simon & Schuster Young Readers published the book on January 21, 2014. Hall lives in Banning, California, and works as a retail store manager.

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Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

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  • Spotting the Slave Standing Next to You
  • The Shyima Hall Story

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