Mam Somaly

Attivista − Cambogia

Born in Cambodia, Somaly Mam fell into sexual slavery in her childhood. Beaten, raped and tortured as a child, at the age of 30 she became a spokeswoman for women and children tortured in the brothels of Cambodia. She, with her husband Pierre Legros, created the AFESIP (Agir pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire) NGO in 1997 in Cambodia. Since then, this international NGO has developed in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Its goals are to save and socially reintegrate people who are victims of these kinds of hardships. Despite threats against her, Somaly Mam has been able to help thousands of young girls and teenagers who have been coerced into prostitution.

She has three children.

In 1998 she received the Prince of Asturias Awards for International Cooperation.

In 2006 she was one of the eight Olympic flag bearers at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Shortly afterwards, her eldest daughter Ning, aged 14, was abducted and raped in Cambodia as retaliation for the humanitarian actions of her mother.[1]

In October 2006 she was named a Glamour Woman of the Year at a presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her award was presented by Mariane Pearl, the journalist, who had been present in Cambodia at the time of the kidnapping of Somaly's daughter, and who reported on the incident for an article that subsequently appeared in Glamour. (The article is linked below under "external links.")

 
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