Saturday, April 17, 2010

GOOD READ: The Road of Lost Innocence

I just finished reading a heart-breaking yet inspiring book called "The Road of Lost Innocence," by Somaly Mam. The author tells the story of her childhood as a sex slave in Cambodia with gut-wrenching candor. Somaly Mam has taken her horrible experiences and turned them into a driving passion to save others from a similar fate. She founded a Cambodia-based organization(AFESIP)a decade ago that exists to rescue victims of the sex trade industry from brothels. Her organization works with law enforcement to conduct raids, provides the victims with safe housing, teaches them to read and write, and trains them in a marketable trade like tailoring, agriculture and cosmetology. She has also opened a US-based nonprofit organization called the Somaly Mam Foundation with the same fundamental goals.

I am embarrassed to admit that prior to reading this book I was very naive about the human trafficking epidemic that is running rampant both at home and abroad. Human trafficking has become the second largest organized crime in the world, even surpassing drug trafficking. Somewhere between 2 and 4 million women and children will be sold into prostitution in the next 12 months - some of these victims as young as 5 years old. Cultural factors, poverty, illiteracy, and corruption all contribute to this growing industry.

I dare you to read this book and not be haunted by its message. Somaly Mam is a heroine in every aspect of the word. She survived horrific circumstances in her early life and yet she is truly making a difference in thousands of women's lives. There is no "woe is me" in her vocabulary! The world would be a better place if we had more of her kind around.

I urge you to purchase a copy of her book "The Road of Lost Innocence" and then tell all your friends. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the Somaly Mam Foundation and go to further her efforts on behalf of the victims of human trafficking. You might also visit There are opportunities to get involved, donate money, or purchase items that help to support the foundation.

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