My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


A Source of Light: Somaly Mam 

I went on my quest to find today's Source in the newspaper. It took a long time to find a positive story, but here she is:

Working as a teenage sex slave in a Cambodian brothel, Somaly Mam says, she served up to 30 clients a night. Some hit her. "I never thought, just lived hour by hour. I played with nothing. In my head: nothing. It was dark, dark, dark. I never trusted people," Mam said Friday during a visit to Denver.
"I was dead."

She tried suicide, she said.

Her turning point: the day a brothel pimp fired a bullet through the head of her friend, Srymom, who dared refuse customers — a warning to other girls to obey. Mam said she then began trying to help a newcomer, a girl with dark skin like hers, eventually using the brothel keys to set her free.

Brothel owners soon released Mam, deeming her too old for Cambodia's booming sex trade.
Ever since, Mam has been arranging rescues of child sex slaves, more than 4,000 over the past decade. The group she formed — Acting for Women in Distressing Situations — counsels and rehabilitates them at shelters in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

By EVERY standard that our society uses to evaluate our expectations of people, Somaly Mam should be a drug-addicted, welfare-dependent basket case. She would probably fit onto several affirmative action/charity lists, and be able to live her life in America relatively free of worry or effort. And EVERYBODY would understand if she were selfish, or complained about everything, or was just a miserable person.

But that's not what she chose to do with her life. Instead, she has dedicated herself to bringing out other girls trapped in the cesspool she came out of. Reminds me of a story:

A man falls in a hole, and he can't get out. He sees his preacher walk by, says "Hey, Father--can you help me out?" The Priest looks at the hole, pulls out a piece of paper, scribbles a prayer on it, and throws it down to him. A minute later, the man sees his doctor walk by, says "Hey, doc--I'm in this hole; can you help me out?" The doctor looks at the hole, writes out a prescription, and tosses it down to the man. A minute after that the man sees a friend. "Hey, Charlie, I'm in this hole--can you help me out?" Charlie looks down at him, looks at the hole for a second, and then jumps in. The man is astonished. "Charlie, what'd you do that for?! Now we're both in this hole!" Charlie smiled and said: "Yeah, but I been in this hole before, buddy, and I know the way out!"

Somaly Mam is uniquely qualified to be helping out sex slaves; but, she's not stopping there--by getting one girl out of that hole--she's working to end the practice altogether.

Now Mam and two former U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, Nic Lumpp and Jared Greenberg, are launching a private U.S. effort to fight the multi billion-dollar sex trade that governments and police have been unable to kill.

Based in Denver, the Somaly Mam Foundation (somaly.org) has raised $400,000 and aims to collect $1 million by July, thanks to corporate and celebrity backers such as actress Susan Sarandon.

Again, by our standards, this woman is a hero for being able to function in society; instead, she's burning brightly, with an ambition that is as big as her past is hellish.

We wish her luck--I have no doubt that she will find a way to make a difference in Cambodia, and hopefully around the world.


Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?