The Road Of Lost Innocence, By Somaly Mam

2102 words - 9 pages

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam is not merely a book. It is an inspiring journey for . Somaly Mam bleeds the story of her life onto paper from as early in her childhood as she can remember up to her present life struggle against human trafficking. An orphan of unknown circumstances, Somaly’s earliest years were spent in the wild but relatively safe mountain village of Bou Sra. At the age of possibly ten years old she was given away to a man who claimed to be her ‘grandfather’. Somaly was expected to run this man’s house, to cook and clean and be rented out for labor in the rice paddies without complaint. After a brief but disastrous arranged marriage, this grandfather sold her off to a woman in the capital city of Phnom Penh as payment for a loan. At this stage in her life Somaly was introduced to the abhorrent life of forced prostitution. She, like countless others, learned to regard herself as nothing more than a commodity, an object to be bought and sold. Her culture demanded her obedience without complaint but Somaly was a survivor. She survived the horrors, always looking for a way out which she eventually found in the form of Dietrich, a European humanitarian worker. Though still a ‘client’, Dietrich encouraged her to take the extra money he gave her and get an education, a job, to get out of prostitution, and she did. Somaly began to take French lessons and moved away from the street brothels. Not long afterward she met Pierre, the first man to ever be truly interested in her as a fellow human being rather than a commodity or night's distraction. She and Pierre opened a business together, eventually married and moved to France. While Somaly confesses that she was never truly 'in love' with Pierre, she respected him for teaching her how to stand up for herself, how to let go of the silence and speak out. It was upon their return to Cambodia that Somaly truly began her struggle against human trafficking. She volunteered at the local clinic where many young prostitutes came to be treated for sexually transmitted diseases. She gave them condoms and soap bars to ease their lives but soon realized that wasn't enough. Within the next few years Somaly founded her organization AFESIP and built two shelters which she filled with girls rescued from the streets. Somaly's work made her a target for ridicule, harassment and death threats but these obstacles only drove her forward. These shelters do more than just feed and clothe, they provide basic education and skills such as sewing or weaving to help these women find work and re-build their lives. To this day Somaly continues to open up new centers and risk her own life attempting to put a stop to human trafficking not only in Cambodia but all over the world.
Somaly Mam is a living example of a her countries tragic past but of the unbreakable Cambodian spirit that developed due to that past. In her book, Somaly claims that “there is nothing that can excuse the sex slave industry in...

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