International Women’s Day is a time to examine what our responsibilities are as educated and privileged women. It is also a day to honour and learn from women who are truly creating positive change, and so we’ve decided to focus our attention on the work of activist Somaly Mam. Mam was sold into sex slavery as a child in Cambodia and after escaping after years of torture – she now dedicates her life to rescuing victims of this $12 billion industry through the Somaly Mam Foundation.
She was named by TIME magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2009 but we first learned about Mam last year through a campaign created by The Body Shop. Always a leader in positive change – The Body Shop, in partnership with ECPAT – it’s Canadian affiliate Beyond Borders and the Somaly Mam foundation, launched Soft Hands, Kind Heart Hand Cream last year. We are all for smart corporate companies that support valuable causes and this campaign not only helped raise awareness on sex trafficking, but provoked important discourse on a taboo subject and has already achieved $400, 000 in funding through product sales.
Death threats have not deterred Mam from operating guerilla tactics to rescuing the afflicted. Beyond the initial rescue, always a dangerous mission, the foundation does all that it can to provide victims with emotional and financial support to aid them with embarking on a new life. Built on the model that trafficking survivors join the rescue efforts – the foundation continues to grow a stronger army of strength and support. Partnering with The Body Shop does absolute wonders for the mandate of improving awareness and helping those in need through policy change and and funding.
Fixing the human trafficking trade is a daunting task, but we feel it is our responsibility to do something. It sounds trivial, but by simply switching the hand cream in your office drawer, you can help support the cause. We hope that this small change will in turn act as a constant reminder to us that there is always more that we can do, and the Somaly Mam organization is certainly deserving of our attention and financial support.
To find out more go to: http://www.somaly.org