(Most victims of human-trafficking are classified under ‘missing’, ‘runaways’, ‘domestic issues’, and etc. Many countries cannot even agree on what constitutes ‘human-trafficking’. By the time police do something, it is too late. Some desperate parents take matters into their own hands and get in over their heads. Not every father is an ex-special forces dad – that only happens in Hollywood!) 

“So, what’s this about wanting to go to Moscow?” Venkat loosened his tie and tossed it onto a dumbvalet. “You don’t know for sure whether Annette is there. Hell, Mike, you don’t know anyone there, you don’t speak the lingo, you’ve never been there and you’re months behind in alimony. I just received another demand from your ex’s lawyer.”

“I have to, the police can’t do much, don’t want to contact Interpol.”

“Look Mike, it’s not like that. Based on the facts,” he loosened his collar button and continued, “it seems Annette…well, looks like she took off on her own free will. What’s that, you’ve some pictures?”

Michael spread three glossy prints on the table, of Annette at the airport. She was in the arms of a smiling Caucasian man.

“This is the man she left with.” Michael repeatedly jabbed his finger on the pictures. “I’m sure he’d cheated her into following him, made use of her youth and gullibility.”

“Youth…gullibility…Hmm, you obviously don’t know what goes on out there. These look like CCTV grabs, where did you get these from?” Venkat raised his hands. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to be an accessory.”

“This Ruslan Kashin is not the kind of gorilla my Annette would associate with.”

“Gorilla, you say.” Venkat tilted his head and studied the smiling man. “He seems quite handsome really and they seem pretty intimate. How did you know his name?”

“The police told me. He must have kidnapped her.” Michael said.

“Your IO’s name is Sergeant Pang? He’s right. The families are usually the last to know.” The lawyer added. “Look, I still keep in touch with my ex colleagues in the force and the number of our young girls who get onto the internet, meet all sorts of scum and get into drugs, prostitution, petty gangsterism, it’s mind boggling I tell you.”

“Not my Annette.” Michael’s eyes turned red.

“Look Mike.” Venkat sighed. “Okay, let’s assume you’re right and this guy forced her to go with him. Even if you find Annette, what do you plan to do? If this Ruslan Kashin is a kidnapper, he’s probably not working alone. If these guys get wind you’re onto them, you put your life in danger; you put Annette’s life in jeopardy.”

“As soon as I locate them, I’ll go to the police.” Michael folded his arms tight.

“Hey, that’s a great thought.” Venkat came around and sat on the edge of his table. He planted one foot on the carpeted floor and let the other leg swing loose. “Look, so why don’t you leave it to the police Mike? They’re still your best bet. You’re not exactly Steven Segal. You’re Michael Liam but sorry to say, no Liam Neeson either. Look, I’ll write letters, put pressure –”

“I can’t Venkat. I simply can’t be doing nothing while my baby is –”

“You love her very much don’t you?”

“Of course I do, with my life!” Michael snapped. He bit his lips.

“Look Mike,” Venkat pointed a finger at his client, “continue with this madness and you might just pay for it with your life…and hers too.” The lawyer exhaled deep and sharp.

“I’m going Venkat, already taken leave, booked my ticket. Yvonne is helping with some cheap hotel or motel in Moscow.”

“What do you intend to do when you get there?” Venkat leaned forward, brought their faces close. “I mean, what would be the first thing you’ll actually do?”

“I don’t know. Contact a private eye, I suppose.” Michael averted his eyes.

‘What a splendid idea. I know a law firm here that represents Russian clients. I’m sure they know some reliable private eye. We’ll let them handle it and you remain in Singapore, okay.” Venkat raised his eyebrows. “Look Mike…okay?”

(An extract from Code Shield, A Peek Into Singapore’s Secret Services)

32 comments

  1. Eric, you treat subjects that exhibit liberal shades of grey. This excerpt is interesting and one I suspect, where the reader might perceive the same situation in various ways, on re-reading.

    Best wishes!

    1. What can I say – is life really ‘black-and-white’. The last I checked, there were 7 colours in the rainbow and thousands of permutations.

      Thank you for stopping by with your contribution. This is always appreciated, Eric

      1. Never at all. Shades of grey abound everywhere, except maybe on the chessboard.

        I relate to Venkat’s character in many ways, in my profesional and personal life. It has taught me that emotion predominates reason and prudence, which are generally in very short supply when it is most needed. Emotion is a pervasive force and the realist, sometimes, gets branded as the naysayer, aloof, snob, a bag of no-emotions.

        Always a pleasur reading you, Eric! Your skills at story-telling is a rare gift. I hope the end of our story leaves the reader with a sense of making up their own ‘ends’, so to speak.

        Best!

    1. Powers-that-be: “It’s best to keep these under wraps or have an occasional documentary past the midnight hour. Too much coverage on primetime and people will demand action – something we politicians and police authorities don’t want on our watch.”

      The mass media: “Hey, I’ve got an idea – lets highlight someone’s marital indiscretions – that’ll distract the mob.”

  2. Life seems so cruel… Incidents like this are everyday affairs these days making parents fear everyone and everything around…
    just hope the girl is fine… The write up was really good!

    1. Left a comment in your post > Stop by…nature so real.

      If you can’t locate it in your blog’s spam folder (top line of your Comments edit page), here it is:

      “I’ve never felt envious or jealous of beautiful relationships others have. I actually feel very happy for them. Hope I don’t lose this gift ever – to be happy in the happiness of others.”

  3. There is a place called Mahipalpur very near our capital..under the very nose and watchful eyes of authorities kids are used for sex trade…all kinds of atrocities take place there and no one has been able to stop it….

    this piece, what i just read..I hope in the story the father finds his daughter but in these cases even half an hour is too late a rescue…

    brilliant write up Eric..

    1. These criminals operate only because politicians and civil servants/police authorities protect them – just like in my novel. Many of the ‘customers’ are none other than these very same politicians, civil servants and police authorities. Let’s also not forget the wealthy businessman, the holy priest and the ‘nice uncle’ next door…and the grandfather…

      Thank you Soma dear for your visit and kind words, Eric

    1. In the novel Michael is a ‘regular joe’ – no special skills, does not even know how to drive on the wrong (right) side of the roads in Moscow. Yes, I didn’t make it easy for him. Whatever Michael does – any ordinary guy can too – including the way he grapples with the language in Moscow.

  4. Wonderful of you to highlight a possible episode of sex trafficking out of Asia, Eric. I was recently reading in New York Times about the huge number of Russian wives living in Syria, greatly complicating Russia’s reactions to the atrocities of the Syrian government. Great suspense story here!

    1. Yes, the events in Syria are tragic. Most of us can only hope and pray that good sense prevails.

      I’ll be posting a few more excerpts from Code Shield which takes a look at drug trafficking, human trafficking and cross border crime syndicates.

      Glad you’re enjoying the excerpts Granbee.

    1. Like all my novels (actually only two published – but three more in the works) – it is a culmination of research, personal experiences and (I like to think) keen observation of people and events garnered over 35 years of international business travels.

    1. Hello Sandra,

      Looks like your friends have gone beyond the stage of merely ‘feeling outrage’ at the atrocities – and are actually ‘doing’ something real.

      All good wishes, Eric

  5. Sometimes the actual news gets reported via the written words or creative interpretation of a writer in a story. Often more accurately and more close up and real to the reader.

    1. You’re so right Penny.

      In all my novels I keep the characters and scenes believable. You’ll not find my hero single-handedly demolishing ten baddies or taking down a man at 100 yards with a handgun.

      I weave social ills into my novels – hopefully without losing the hold of a ‘thriller’.

      Thank you for your visit and comments, Eric

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