BENEFITING: Somaly Mam Foundation
EVENT DATE: Mar 21, 2012
UPDATE: The second annual 18FOR18 campaign to skydive from 18,000 feet and raise 18,000 to fight sex slavery met this goal--and surpassed it! The 18FOR18 team raised $72,000 altogether, all for for rescue services for victims of slavery. Thanks to actress and supporter Serinda Swan for spearheading this effort!
Somaly Mam does not know her real name. She does not know when she was born, nor who her real parents are. But she knows this: that life is love, and she has given her life to rescuing and rehabilitating victims of modern-day slavery. In honor of her adopted birthday, the Somaly Mam Foundation is working to fulfill Somaly's wish to raise money for rescue operations in Southeast Asia.
Rescuing a victim from the brothel is the first step in a long road to recovery, and the process is delicate. The shelters must prioritize the well being of the women and girls and abide by legal regulations.
AFESIP Cambodia's Rescue Process: A Closer Look
The investigation team gets tips from a large network of contacts, ranging from tuk-tuk drivers to women working in the red-light district.
The outreach team, tirelessly working in key locations where sex is bought and sold, also assists with providing information and intel. Investigation staff risk their lives going undercover in brothels, massage parlors, karaoke bars, public gardens and other establishments meeting with sex workers and collecting information. Once sufficient evidence has been collected, they work closely with the Ministry of the Interior and the Anti-trafficking department of the police force. The shelter will never make a rescue without the support of local law enforcement officials.
Survivors who are part of the Somaly Mam Foundation’s Voices for Change program assist with raids to provide support and build trust with newly rescued women and children. During a rescue operation, all women and girls, and at times clients, are removed from the site. Those who have been rescued are informed about victim services and have the right to decide whether to stay in a center or to return home. Brothel owners face legal proceedings in the Cambodian court system.