The Body Shop Teams Up With Cambodian Anti-Slavery Activist Somaly Mam
By Beth Kanter on August 09, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
Somaly Mam is a vocal activist in the fight against child sex trafficking industry in Cambodia. This is a personal crusade for Somaly Mam, a former sex slave sold to a brothel at the age of 16 by an abusive caretaker to pay off his debts. She was able to escape a cruel life with the help of a Swiss patron who paid off the owner. Ever since, she has campaigned tirelessly against forced prostitution of young girls and women and set upan NGO named AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distresting Situations) that provides rehabilitation for girls Camobdia, Laos, and Vietnam that has helped rescue and rehabilitate thousands of women and children in Southeast Asia.
Her newest campaign to raise awareness has been launched in partnership with The Body Shop and ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) to raise awareness. According to UN.GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) over 1.2 million children and young people are exploited in the global sex trade each year. Starting in August, The Body Shop will donate $6.00 of every $10 bottle of "Soft Hands, Kind Heart Hand Cream" to ECPAT and sell Bags for Life totes and Create Your Own gift bags to raise funds for the Somaly Mam Foundation.
According to a post summarizing a story from Reuters, Details Are Sketchy Blog, reports that Somaly Mam recently rescued a four-year old girl from a brothel in Cambodia after being reported by a male client. The child had been sold to a brothel by her mother, who is also a prostitute. According to the Reuters article, Somaly reports "There is a belief that having sex with a virgin will cure you of HIV so there is an increasing market for younger and younger girls. In my time it was girls aged 15-16 but it has got younger and younger."
Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits, writes Beth's Blog.