April 15, 2009
April 2, 2009
Human rights advocate Mu Sochua was born fifty years ago to an affluent Phnom Penh family but was sent to Paris by her parents in the early 70s as Cambodia became a battleground. She never saw her parents again as they were lost to the abyss created by the Khmer Rouge. However, she returned to the country of her birth in 1989 and has since spoken out on human trafficking, women's rights and worker exploitation and shows no sign of slowing down. During her 18 years in exile, Mu Sochua spent time in Paris, California and Italy as well as working in the refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border. On her return, she formed the first organization for women called Khemara and joined the FUNCINPEC political party, winning a national assembly seat representing Battambang in 1998, and soon afterwards was asked to take over the Ministry of Women's and Veterans' Affairs, one of only two women in the cabinet. Her tenure as Minister was marked by campaigns and programs that made a difference to the lives of women in Cambodia as well as highlighting the human rights deficencies she found all around her.
In July 2004 she stepped down from her role as a Minister, citing corruption as a major obstacle to her work. Almost immediately she transferred her allegiance to the Sam Rainsy party, where she is deputy head of the steering committee. Through her work in human rights, domestic violence, HIV awareness and the trafficking of women and children, she holds a unique position in her country and abroad, where her voice is listened to and respected. She recently joined forces with the K11 project to appear on the feature length documentary Virgin Harvest, the shocking exposure of child trafficking in her country.