“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein
Compete Every Day recently shared the story of Ping Fu, a woman who survived the tortures and gang-rapes of a Chinese prisonlike facility to rise and grow into one of the top technological leaders in the world today. Today highlights the story of another young woman who survived the horrors of evil and is now using her life to compete for those she left behind.
Somaly Mam has the upbringing that one cannot wish upon their worst enemy. But the Cambodian woman’s resilience and mission is one that simply cannot be understated. Born into poverty, Somaly was sold into slavery by a man posing as her “grandfather.” A victim of human trafficking, Somaly spent her childhood in the war torn country as a prostitute and tortured prisoner. After watching her best friend murdered in front of her, Somaly made plans to escape. In 1993, with the help of a French aid worker, she escaped to Paris and eventually married a French citizen. Instead of living in fear and assuming the identity her traders and abusers gave her, Somaly forged herself a new identity – as a woman hellbent on competing for women caught in the same situations she had endured.
“I just want to help them, I want to be the family for the kids who don’t have a family,” she shared.
Somaly Mam is now one of the world’s leading activists against human trafficking. More than 12 million people are engaged in forced labor according to an UN agency. 12 million slaves in the world today. That’s heartbreaking. But Somaly and those like her are taking a stand. Through the Somaly Mam Foundation, thousands of girls have been freed and integreated back into society – free from the chains that previous bound them. “In addition to physically freeing those being sold, the foundation works to emotionally and economically strengthen the women in order to face the future with hope.”
Their opponents send in death threats, attack her, and make numerous failed assassination attempts on Somaly’s life, but she continues to stand strong. Traffickers, obviously scared of Somaly’s force, even kidnapped and raped her daughter to try and get the leader to back off of her attack on their illegal business. Still, Somaly and her family continue to fight the forces of evil, never bending to their demands or negotiating.
“We all know that our lives are in danger. I’ve never been so happy in my life. They can kill me now,” she told the New York Times.
In other words, “bring it on because I won’t back down.” Now that is motivation.