Charity: Somaly Mam Foundation
In 2012, Curves for Change will be working to further the mission of Somaly Mam Foundation. Through education and empowerment of women, and through rescue resources, we can unite to make the world safer for women and children globally.
Born to a tribal minority family in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia, Somaly Mam began life in extreme poverty. With limited options as a severely marginalized ethnic group, and living in unimaginable despair, her family often resorted to desperate means to survive. This confluence of dire circumstances led to the unspeakable horrors that would mark Somaly’s early years. Somaly was sold into sexual slavery by a man who posed as her grandfather. To this day, due to the passing of time and the unreliability of a wounded memory, Somaly still does not know who this man was to her. Yet his actions set her on an unimaginable path fraught with danger, desperation, and ultimately triumph.
Forced to work in a brothel along with other children, Somaly was brutally tortured and raped on a daily basis. One night, she was made to watch as her best friend was viciously murdered. Fearing she would meet that same fate, Somaly heroically escaped her captors and set about building a new life for herself. She vowed never to forget those left behind and has since dedicated her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.
Human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry, is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. With over two million women and children sold into sexual slavery each year, it is a global crisis that must be stopped.
In 1996, Somaly established a Cambodian non-governmental organization called AFESIP (Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Precaire). Under Somaly’s leadership, AFESIP employs a holistic approach that ensures victims not only escape their plight, but have the emotional and economic strength to face the future with hope. With the launch of the Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007, Somaly has established a funding vehicle to support anti-trafficking organizations and to provide victims and survivors with a platform from which their voices can be heard around the world.
The Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) focuses on three critical program areas: Victim Services, Survivor Empowerment and the Eradication of Slavery.
Through the Voices for Change initiative, the Foundation ensures that survivors have a hand in the Foundation’s work.
Somaly is an extraordinary example of courage and hope of young girls, despite the trials and tribulations they’ve faced in their young lives. Empowerment takes the form of education, medical treatment, friendship …and the promise of a better future.