Angels Over Moscow: Life, Death and Human Trafficking in Russia – A Memoir (Paperback)
Angels Over Moscow is an inspirational, first-person account of the life of American physician, Dr. Juliette Engel, who founded the non-profit MiraMed Institute to devote her energy and resources to helping reform maternal and infant healthcare in Russia. During a mission to improve medical care for children in orphanages, she discovered a link between the State institutions and an international network that trafficked young Russian girls to Scandinavia for prostitution. She followed their trail north into Norway, where she ran headlong into the international slave trade of the 20th Century—human trafficking. From that point forward, there was no turning back for the determined doctor, as she traveled throughout the former USSR, often at great personal peril, building a network of villagers, educators, police, media, and government officials called the Angel Coalition who committed their talents and resources to fighting human trafficking, and bringing thousands of Russian trafficking victims safely home. As a result of her work, she became eyewitness to the collapse of an empire as the USSR broke apart, and the Russian people struggled to find their identity without losing their humanity. Her strength and personal commitment saved thousands of lives and has helped heal the wounds of a broken nation. In Angels Over Moscow, Dr. Engel describes her journey as the “gift of an unexpected life.” More than that, it is a tribute to American ideals, and to idealists like Dr. Engel, who put her life and freedom on the line to fight the good fight for all of us. Every human being encounters crossroads on the path of life that require fate-altering decisions with unknowable outcomes. Selling my medical practice to live and work in Russia wasn’t among my life plans when I first set out to explore what lay beyond the boundaries of my familiar world. How could I anticipate that I’d be drawn down the harder, darker, unexplored road into the tumultuous disorder of Russia? I look back and wonder if I might have been more cautious had I known the magnitude of the winds that were gathering outside my door, waiting for me to step beyond the limits of safety. I did not know. Instead, I engaged the opportunity for exploring new cultures without hesitation. It was 1990 when I first flew to Moscow. The Berlin Wall had just been torn down as the Evil Empire capitulated to the forces of greater good. The ideals of democracy and freedom could now be realized for all people. Like many Americans, I saw only optimism for the future, and it was in that heady atmosphere of the Age of Aquarius that I set out to explore the world behind the Iron Curtain. Do I regret it? No. My path became a difficult, frustrating and often tragic one but I was gifted with a rarified view into other dimensions and joined by a cast of characters that enriched my life even if they didn’t have a kopek between them. The takeaway for readers of Angels Over Moscow? You cannot anticipate the unexpected. Instead, open your arms. Embrace all that life has to offer. Drink it in. Celebrate every moment. Do not be afraid of tears.
About the Author
Juliette M. Engel: I am a 71 year old retired physician and author. Back in my college days, I was determined to do something brave with my life. I put myself through university and medical school to become an Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Director of Diagnostic Ultrasound at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington. When my two children were in high school and college, I became the first American doctor to fly over the Iron Curtain to Moscow where I visited Soviet maternity hospitals and abortion clinics. I was so appalled by what I saw that I sold my my medical practice in 1990 and founded MiraMed Institute, determined to improve health care and human rights for women and children in the USSR. When the Soviet government collapsed and orphans were dying for lack of antibiotics, I organized “Cruise with a Cause,” in which tourists carried one suitcase for themselves and one full of medicines and warm clothing for an orphanage. While providing aid to infant hospitals and orphanages in northern Russia, I uncovered the crime of sexual trafficking in girls and a rage was kindled in me. The girls were defenseless, but I wasn’t. I moved to Moscow in 1999 and founded the Angel Coalition to combat human trafficking. The Angel Coalition grew into an underground railroad that assisted thousands of victims. I also co-founded Moscow’s municipal orphanage staff training center, Women and Children First, and a nationwide program of community center support for single mothers, the Babushka Brigade. Jill Dougherty of CNN once asked if I was lonely in Russia. I had to laugh. I was never alone. My life was a constant collage of travel and adventure with my cluster of colleagues and friends. I sweated in banyas and jumped into frigid Siberian lakes, traveled by train and bus to small villages on the steppes, and ate blinis with honey in Novgorod and smoked fish on the shores of Lake Onega. I sailed the great Volga River, delivering aid to orphanages and getting to know the kids, watching them grow over the years and trying, often in vain, to keep them safe. I came back to America in 2010 when my protégé was murdered by traffickers and Russian Military Intelligence warned me that I would be next. I am currently living in the Washington DC area and serving on a number of committees including the Presidential Commission “US–Russia Working Group on Civil Society, Corruption, Child Pornography, and Child Trafficking” along with representatives from the National Security Council, State Department, and White House. I am a frequent guest at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2013, I received the University of Washington School of Medicine Humanitarian Award (Interview: https://vimeo.com/67433359). In 2016, the draft manuscript of Angels Over Moscow was awarded the Southern California Writers Award for Best Non-fiction.
“Angels over Moscow is a riveting account of one woman's compassion that drove her past her fears to rescue stolen and forsaken lives. Filled with twists and turns, the pages read like a spy novel set in post-cold war Russia, except her experiences are real! One thing is certain, she reveals that Love and compassion overcomes fear and hardship. May these pages capture the hearts of many more like her to set out on rescue missions for the trafficked souls waiting for someone to give them hope and a hand.” —Randy DeMain, Christian minister and author of Nephilim Resurgence, the Rise of the 4th Kingdom and Endtime, Spiritual Warriors
“Like her previous memoir Sparky: Surviving Sex Magick, Angels over Moscow is an extraordinary work, written in a fast-paced prose that is once again more thriller than memoir. This is a tragic and triumphant read with tension ranging from awkward suspense and humor to outright terror on every page.” —Richard W. Marek, Editor, Richard Marek Books, at Putnam Publishing Group, author of Works of Genius and editor of The Bourne Identity
“In her inspiring memoir, Dr. Engel describes the formation of a nationwide rescue operation based in Moscow called The Angel Coalition. Russian Angels struggle to save trafficking victims from a tragic fate. It is an exciting story, told with humor, and set against a vibrant backdrop of ordinary Russian life, replete with details of food, weather, landscape, and politics. The author writes from a deep understanding of Russia as well as from a love for this vast country and its people.” —Solveig Eggerz, author of Seal Woman, Sigga of Reykjavik and Mandatory Dancing
“More than a memoir, Angels Over Moscow is a riveting view of human trafficking involving world leaders from the Russian mafia to US Government actors who talk a good game on claiming to want to stop human trafficking but when shown alternatives that work, they deliberately block grassroots actions that might end the highly lucrative industry. Most fascinating is how the U.S. State Department quashed information from the Angel Coalition proving that the United States was the leading destination for trafficking victims from the former USSR.” —Carey Gave, Court Advocate for Victims of Sexual Abuse, State of Illinois
“Juliette's personal story of triumph over evil in action in the forbidden Former Soviet Union is chilling and transformative. There are human rights activists who swarm with rhetoric over this modern slavery but Juliette was a pioneer in solving the scope of the problems by engaging the victims and perpetrators face to face. She set up systems for rescue, restoration and reform that have been a resource for others on the globe who must confront crimes of humanity that damage the very soul of the culture. I know because I watched her challenge authorities there in Russia which rippled back to the conscience of the American public stance on modern slavery to establish an office at the US State Department which in turn began to honestly address our own problems at home. This is a story of overcoming evil, exposing it, and commanding results from the very top players on the globe. It is inspiring and terrifying and a really good read. Take a lesson in grit mixed with intelligence and watch her own soul grow by the actions she undertook.” —Claudia Barlow, chairman of MiraMed, strategist and consultant to governments and non-profit global groups that threaten freedom Reviews for previous work Sparky: Surviving Sex Magick (rated all 5-star reviews on Amazon)
“From Seattle in 1953 to the Mexican border in 1959 to Moscow in 1990, Juliette Engel has lived a life straight out of a Jason Bourne novel. As she retells her adventures, I am right at her side, breathing hard.” —Frank S. Joseph, former editor for Washington Post, Author of To Love Mercy