Somaly Mam, a woman who was born in the hills of Cambodia and sold into sexual slavery as a child, now runs a foundation dedicated to stopping human trafficking in Southeast Asia. It’s her mission to eradicate human trafficking, particularly among children who are sold into prostitution.
“It’s a problem that people react to very strongly. They can’t believe it exists in our day and age, and in our own backyard, and there is a shared sentiment of horror and sadness when they learn,” Mam said. “It’s also a problem of people with people: not scarcity of resources, not environmental destruction, but how one person treats another. And that has potential to change.”
In her book “The Road of Lost Innocence,” Mam described how she was sold into the sex trade as a child by an abusive guardian she called “Grandfather” out of respect. Today, as an adult, Mam describes the path out of human trafficking this way: “It inspires action from so many people because of the real stories of sexual trafficking and rapes voiced by the women and children who experienced it,” she said. “However, so many people still do not know and understand the root causes of it. There is no demand. There is no supplier. There is no trafficker. There is no victim. They are all people.”
“I would like you to know,” Mam says, “that everyone cannot do everything, but each of you can do one thing to change the world.”
Learn more at Erika D. Smith’s Indystar.com article: Somaly Mam puts a face on human trafficking.