I find her life story so touching and inspiring and felt it was worthy to add to this page.
Somaly Mam is a very positive inspirational Cambodian woman.
In 2009, she was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people.
I am deeply proud of her work. Her life story is so touching! Why do so many bad things happen to good people? I am so sick and tired of this world’s injustices. I feel so bad for her. No one deserves this. She’s a strong woman, and all the best to her and her family.
In Laurie Holden’s words “Somaly is a modern day heroine who has turned her own horror story of victimization into one that is both profound and inspirational. She fearlessly challenges the system, raiding brothels and rescuing thousands of young women and children from evil sexual predators”
Activist – Somaly Mam
Somaly Mam named one of top 100 women: activists and campaigners on Guardian News and Media.
Growing up in extreme poverty under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Mam was sold into sexual slavery when she was 12, eventually ending up in a Phnom Penh brothel where she endured unimaginable daily torture and rape. After being made to watch as another girl, her best friend, was murdered, Mam escaped and was helped out of Cambodia by a French aid worker.
Instead of trying to rebuild her life in France, where she married, Mam returned to Cambodia to help girls who hadn’t been so lucky. In 1996, she set up her organisation Afesip (Action for Women in Distressing Situations), to rescue girls and women from brothels and support their recovery. She has already helped more than 4,000 women and children, some as young as five, escape sexual slavery in south-east Asia and in 2007 set up the Somaly Mam Foundation, to raise awareness, campaign for change and fund projects to rescue and rehabilitate women and children sold into slavery.
Mam’s work has come at a terrible personal cost. Her life has been threatened by pimps and brothel owners, and in 2006, her then 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped and raped by three men, as retaliation for the work her mother does. In an interview in 2005 , Mam admitted to periods of desperation, including more than one suicide attempt. But in more recent years, asked why she continues to fight, she has always responded, “I don’t want to go without leaving a trace.”