Sex Trafficking in Cambodia: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam

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“Some girls come to us beaten half to death. They are so young. They have marks that are worse than anything I have ever endured.” (Mam 166). Throughout the world, traffickers coerce and abduct women and children into the sex trade. Traffickers then trade and sell these women for the use of sexual exploitation (Mace Venneberg, and Amell 336). As many as 20 million people are involved in the global sex trade at any given time (Nawyn, Birdal, and Glogower 56). Though sex trafficking is acknowledged as an issue throughout the world, it continues to become even more extreme. Anyone, from anywhere, could be taken and sold as a slave. In countries such as Cambodia and Thailand, girls can be as young as five or six years old when they enter the…show more content…
When the brothel owner, or meebon and Mam calls them, found out, Somaly was psychologically tortured with threats and degrading lash outs. Since the day Somaly lost her virginity at 12 years old, she has felt unclean. Even now, 15 years later, she showers twice per day and constantly lathers on perfume for fear of smelling like a brothel. “Even today I often have the sense that I’m breathing in the smell of the whorehouses. I lived amid this stench for so long that I cannot bear it even now. I feel dirtied by it. ” (Mam 187). Somaly Mam is not the only girl who has experienced these monstrosities; thousands of other women still endure these terrors every day (Chung 490). Mam knew that in order to stay alive, she had to get out. After several years of living in a brothel, Mam began meeting wealthier clients, and she saw this as an opportunity. If she could marry a wealthy man, she could get out of prostitution forever. She met a French client named Pierre who treated her with more respect than she had ever received from anyone. The merging of their two very different cultures made Somaly realize that not all men in the world are the same. Somaly claims she did not live Pierre, but she thought she could live with him forever. Pierre helped Somaly get out of the brothel and start her work with the AFESIP, which translates to Acting for Women in Distressed Situations. This foundation was designed aid women and children trafficked for sex slavery. This foundation

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