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by Sopheap Chak | January 30, 2010 at 4:42 AM
Riding the Wave of Change
Sopheap, it is so wonderful to see you on PulseWire again. I hope you do not mind but your piece was so compelling that I am posting an excerpt from it and hope that many more women will read the full post.
In Cambodia, many people migrate from the poorer rural areas into the cities for work. The International Organization for Migration conducted a survey of returned trafficking victims and found that 62% reported that the main reason for migration was to find jobs to help support their family. They are often exploited by co-workers, relatives, friends, or in some cases by their boyfriends, who sell them to brothel owners or other men. A survey of Cambodian sex trafficking victims in Thailand reported that 25% of victims were trafficked by a stranger, while two-thirds of the victims were trafficked by someone that they knew. ...
The only hope for the reduction of sex trafficking comes from the anti-sex trafficking activists and the government. Under the leadership of Somaly Mam, Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP) employs a holistic approach that ensures victims not only escape their plight but provide therapy and education so that they have the emotional and economic strength to face the future with hope.
She launched the Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007. It is a funding vehicle to support anti-trafficking organizations and provides victims and survivors with a platform from which their voices can be heard around the world. She has earned much respect, recognition, and accolades because of her efforts, including being honored as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2009, being featured as a CNN Hero, and being the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, The World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC), Glamour Magazine's 2006 Woman of the Year Award, and accolades from the US Department of Homeland Security.
However, her efforts have resulted in death threats to herself and her family. Even worst, in 2006, her 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped by brothel owners, who drugged and raped her. This has not stopped Somaly Mam, but motivated her even more. Once, when asked why she continued to fight in the face of such fierce and frightening opposition, she resolutely responded, "I don't want to go without leaving a trace."
She established a model for addressing the sex-trafficking issue and has already helped more than 4,000 women escape the brothels. In turn, some of them have also become activists fighting against sex trafficking.
Thanks for your interest and help to spread the word. I hope the world will read this and understand the suffer of the sex trafficking victims; esp those who have recovered from this suffering and fighting to protect their fellows.
"When you blame others, you give up your power to change"
CHAK Sopheap (Ms)
Thank you for sharing this link (and Janice for posting part of it here). This is an issue that is so incomprehensible to me. I have a very hard time helping solve this problem because it just is so horrific to me. I read somewhere that more human beings are in "slavery" now then ever in the history of humankind. And it's completely hidden from my day-to-day existence.
I encourage you to please continue to share information. I need to be reminded, over and over again, that this is happening and girls/women are suffering in unbelievable ways.
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