Author’s ‘Gray Zone’ sheds light on dark subject

Daphna Ziman is on a mission to help kids placed in foster care and she’s picked a novel way to do it – quite literally.

Ziman, a Los Angeles-based philanthropist and activist for foster children, has written a work of fiction, a legal thriller whose protagonist was orphaned as a child.

In The Gray Zone, Kelly Jensen is on the run from the law following the brutal murder of a Las Vegas politician. But with the help of a sharp-minded, handsome defense lawyer, Kelly could clear her name.

Sound like a fast-paced, breezy crime thriller for any summer reading list? Well, it is – and it isn’t.

Ziman’s aim is two-fold: to get people to read her story like they would any other thriller from the likes of James Patterson or Harlan Coben. But there’s also another, more important aim: to engage readers with a serious problem in America, the plight of kids in foster care who, Ziman says, can be victims of neglect, abuse, human trafficking and even sex slavery.

“You can write a [nonfiction] book and put the facts and statistics in it and nobody will read it, or you can take the public, the readers, on a journey,” Ziman told Reuters about why she chose to write the novel.

“This way, I could create something that would stay around forever, and maybe somebody would be interested in transferring it into a movie” or some other medium, she said.

Ziman’s approach to raising awareness may be a novel but it’s hardly new. Fiction has long been used to expose truths that many officials might prefer were better left unexposed.

There was, of course, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 muckraking novel The Jungle which blew the lid off unsanitary practices in Chicago’s meat-packing business. Charles Dickens also looked at the plight of English orphan boys in Oliver Twist.

Adding to Ziman’s zeal is a personal reason: She has adopted two daughters out of the foster care system and founded nonprofit group Children Uniting Nations (CUN), to raise money and awareness about issues impacting kids.

Not all children are victimized by foster parents, of course, but the number who are is hard to determine because they don’t speak out publicly as children.

Daphna Ziman Zeros in on Flaws in Foster-Care System

The Gray Zone is Children Uniting Nations founder’s latest way to help at-risk children

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA – February 2011 – Author Daphna Ziman brings to the forefront of the world the plight of our most needy children and their fight to survive a broken child welfare system in her debut novel, The Gray Zone (Greenleaf Book Group, June 1, 2011).

Shaped by a brutal and orphaned childhood, abused and sexually exploited, the book’s protagonist Kelly Jensen has become a daring and seductive criminal, a master of disguise and identity theft, in order to protect the lives of her children and to bring down a ruthless underworld subjecting foster children to white slavery. She must defeat an indifferent justice system and a corrupt political empire to evade the deadly traps set by the most murderous master of the banking world.  Her life depends on the skills of deceit he has taught her.

Interview with Daphna

1. Q: Daphna, can you tell readers what provoked and continues to feed your passion for the cause of foster children and child abuse? What do you want readers to do with the awareness created by reading this novel?

A: I wrote this novel to create awareness of the resilience of foster kids who will either turn to crime or be reeducated and receive therapy to become useful, productive, whole members of society. I also want the readers to become aware of the problem of trafficking of children for abusive reasons that is still occurring through America. Money fuels the mistreatment, neglect, and abuse of children. Money, on the other hand, can fuel legislation, therapy, treatment, and mentoring to turn these children’s worlds around in many ways, with so many positive results. That is why all of the proceeds from this novel are going to the organization of Children Uniting Nations. (

Daphna Ziman on The Paul and Matty Show

Thank you to Paul and Matty for having me on their wonderful show — and more importantly for helping with our cause to save children from abuse. You guys are such a delight!

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Novel About Sex Trafficking Of Minors In America Strikes Chord In Other Nations Facing Organized Prostitution Of Children


Author of New York Times best seller “The Gray Zone” honored in Azerbaijan, the nation of Georgia and Greece.

(PRWEB) November 02, 2011

Renowned children’s rights activist Daphna Edwards Ziman undertook her first novel in order to reveal the horrific extent of the organized prostitution of minors, particularly of foster children, in the United States. Her critically acclaimed novel “The Gray Zone,” appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Best Seller lists and assisted the address of the issue by her organization, Children Uniting Nations. But most surprising and pleasing to Ziman is the fact that it has indeed united other nations dealing with the same vicious crime. Ziman has since been honored with a major governmental medal by the nation of Azerbaijan, was hailed by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for bringing worldwide attention to the global crisis of sex-trafficking and awarded for her work with an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by the University of Georgia. Ziman had also made a stop in Greece as a guest of renowned UNESCO advocate Marianna Vardinoyannis, her nation’s most notable activist against the sexual abuse of children.