As part of my Noonday & International Justice Mission Rwanda trip contest submission, I am posting stories of real difference makers. Please take some time to read a bit about these women and, if you're so inclined, feel free to vote for me here: Rachael T Mickel--Worst Contest Submission Ever
There is not much that disguists me more than sex trafficking, especially of children. How any grown man or woman can possibly justify paying to rape a boy or girl is far, far from my comprehension. How they derive pleasure on any level is unfathomable. As for the traffickers, how does one come to the level of depravity that brings a person to a place where they greedily strip a child of its innocence, its dignity, and its place in the world for profit. Just money.
We are talking about children as young as 3 years old who are being held captive and forced to do sex acts under the threat of starvation, beatings, and supposed harm to their families.
Yes. Three. Let that sit there for a moment.
When it comes to hurting children in any form, my level of anger is far above the boiling point.
In the midst of this depravity, a woman stands tall with a word and a commanding presence. Her voice is clear, her hands steady, and her mind set.
She is greeted by young girls who she has rescued from brothels where they would be forced to take 20+ clients a day. She is greeted by 16 year olds and 5 year olds. They run to greet her and wrap their arms around her as they draw strength from her affection and their worth through her eyes. The reason?
Somaly Mam says it is because they, the girls and herself, are the same person.
Somaly is no stranger to the horrors of a brothel. She is all too familiar with starvation and soldiers and blood. Her own blood. Her memory stores the hungry look of a man whose selfish desires looked past the bruises on her face and body and came to bruise her soul far beyond what anyone could do to her body.
Today, Somaly Mam owns the Somaly Mam Foundation that works to end sex trafficking in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. Part of her work includes Voices for Change, a program modeled after Somaly's life. Victims become advocates, silence no longer has a place to rest, and the voices of young women cannot be ignored.
I strongly recommend the documentary, Half the Sky where you can hear the stories of these young girls, including one whose eye was gouged out by a brothel owner. I think what impresses me most Somaly's countenance and confidence. She is a picture of a woman who is not afraid to stand up for herself and others and refuses to let others define her worth.
Let me introduce to you: