How one woman took lemons and is making really loud and life changing lemonade

I learned about Somaly Mam when I was living in Cambodia and working against human trafficking in the region. She is a local name and a local hero.  I can’t imagine what a person feels when they live through what she has survived. I often wonder how these children have the strength to persevere. But the fact that Somaly more than survived, that she grew up to be a savior for children in her position with the strength to speak out and stand up, is amazing.

New York Time columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote on Sept 24:

My Thursday column is about one of the bleakest aspects of global poverty, human trafficking, and about somebody who shows that it is not the hopeless cause people sometimes think it is. Somaly Mam runs a foundation in her name to fight trafficking and has just published a powerful autobiography that I highly recommend.

One of the things I’ve seen in development is that Western-designed efforts aren’t always as successful as they should be, while the best approach is to support local people who know the local terrain. That’s why it’s so wonderful to see people like Somaly providing leadership, with Westerners serving as Sherpas.

It is definitely worth it to check out Kristof’s interview with her.

Also, Mongkol, a Cambodian studying in the US, writes about how she made an appearance on the Tyra Banks show.  He includes the videos of the show and his own comments.

One comment

  1. • 12-year old Laxmi* was lured by her classmates to travel to Kolkata (capital of West Bengal, a state in India) for a picnic and later sold in the train.

    • 10-year old Sneha* accompanied her 16 year-old sister Surya* to the dream city Mumbai in search of a job. Surya works as a domestic help while Sneha is hired for zari / embroidery work.

    • Ramesh*, a 15-year old rag-picker is missing. His neighbours say they saw him being chatting with a drug-addict.
    * names changed to protect identity

    Young children go missing from the small towns and villages in India. Some run-away on being lured by the dreams of the big city, while others are carried away to be sold for meager gains…

    The birth of a child (read male) in India meant celebration. Sweets are distributed and the atmosphere is one of merriment.Neighbours and relatives greet the parents and the new born baby is showered with blessings and gifts. Children are considered as God’s gift to the family. While this is true and relevant in many parts of India and the world at large, a stark reality hits us when we read the newspapers and are informed about the alarming rate at which children go missing from their homes and the increasing number of child labourers found in every sector of employment.

    A child is one of the worst marginalized sections in the societal spectrum. Children are found in most realms of institutions, and more so in places they are not supposed to be. Child soldiers, child sex workers, child labourers, bonded labourers, child brides, rag pickers, beggars, manual scavengers, domestic workers, camel jockeys in dangerous races etc.

    The above is an extract from Aileen S. Marques essay “Innocence Interred!!!”. This essay was ranked among the top three essays in Human Rights Defence’s Essay competition 2008. If you would like to read more, visit: http://www.humanrightsdefence.org

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr Tomas Eric Nordlander
    HumanRightsDefence

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