Award-Winning Novel, Imelda’s Secret by Liza Gino Unravels the Crime of Sexual Slavery During Japanese Occupation

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Aug. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Upon the invitation of Dr. Allan and Edwina Bergano, well-recognized community leaders, Gino will do a book signing, read passages from Imelda’s Secret at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, Virginia Beach, on August 21 from 10am-12. The event is sponsored by EnJewel, a 501(c) 3 not for profit that fights against human trafficking led by Naomi V Estaris, a local entrepreneur, community leader, and philanthropist. 

Imagine that in numbers: 400,000. Four hundred thousand. This is the estimated number of women abducted from several countries, including China, the Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. They were forced into positions of sexual slavery to service Japanese military personnel during World War II.

These victims of sexual slavery euphemistically referred to as "comfort women," suffered serious abuse and often died after succumbing to their injuries.

Telling the fictional story of Imelda and Gloria, two comfort women from an affluent family, Imelda’s Secret illustrates the emotional battle of having been forced to serve as sexual slaves for the occupying Japanese forces during World War II. Through this story, the book delves into the seldom recognized aspect of the war while hoping to bring awareness to the struggle of the last remaining survivors in gaining recognition for their suffering and an official apology from the Japanese government.

"The stories of comfort women have been swept under the rug for far too long. To think for even a moment that a human being can be reduced to being thought of as ‘military supply’ for countless soldiers and have their dignity, fundamental rights to life, freedom, health, and peace of mind forcibly taken from them is to imagine the unimaginable of all nightmares," said Gino.

Gino affirms that "Imelda’s Secret exposes the experiences of these women in the hopes of sparking awareness and advocacy in all who read the book and bringing living voices in their decades-long fight for justice."

Gino drew inspiration from and was compelled by stories told to her by family and friends who lived through the atrocities of World War II. Having been born and raised in the Philippines, Gino was exposed to a myriad of stories about the Japanese occupation of the country during the war. She honored those stories as the long-drawn battle cry of the women, often the collateral of war.

Her time at the University of the Philippines, the premier institution of higher learning in the Philippines, put her at the front line of social change in the 80’s that empowered Gino to become herself an agent of change, advocating for the rights and liberation of women. As the president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco and Rotary Club of Daly City Colma Evening, Gino continues to serve her community while running her own business, My Favorite Bite, as a cake artist with notable clients like Willie Mays and Lizzo.

Imelda’s Secret released in November 2020, has since gained multiple awards, including first place for Historical Fiction at the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards (E-Book Awards); Best Book in the Category of Women’s Interest, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award by the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE); award-winning author for Historical International Impact Book Awards; and the Silver Award from Literary Titan Book Awards for the expert delivery, complex characters, intricate worlds, and thought-provoking themes.

Imelda’s Secret is available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle and in paperback at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Target,, Philippine Expression Bookshop and at Imelda’s Secret website. Autographed copies are available from the book’s website.

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Liza Gino

SOURCE Liza Gino