Early in December I joined a group out of Australia, Project Futures, on a biking and 1/2 marathon adventure to support the Somaly Mam Foundation that combats sex trafficking in Southeast Asia and around the world. In the days following we spent time with the girls from the camps.
I am asking if you may be able to help, even with the smallest amount, please do; every dollar goes a long way. Fundraising associated for this event will go on through January and I will be posting pictures.
My biggest wish is that you look into some of the resources that talk about the issues of sex trafficking. One of my suggestions is the Somaly Mam Foundation (American) website http://www.somaly.org/, or read Somaly Mam’s story The Road of Lost Innocence or read or watch the documentary Half the Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. If there is trouble doing so I am willing to purchase the book and have it mailed to you as long as you promise to pass it along to someone else to read when you are through.
This is an on-going project for me and I will be re-visiting the organization to help with other needs that can be met through Engineers Without Borders. In a few months I will be hosting an event to move this forward. I included a few facts about the Somaly Mam Foundation and Project Futures I am working with, and encourage you to look into it more.
MOSTLY, I want to say what remarkable, inspiring people I met in Cambodia and those that came from Australia. Extra-ordinary people living what would seem to be ordinary lives but understanding that they can make a difference, even if just to one child. The women I met whose lives have been changed by the organization and how they give back. They are so beautiful....
Thank you for being a special part of this for me and a part in my life.
How did I find the Somaly Mam Foundation (why Cambodia)?
A few years ago I ran across an article about a remarkable woman in Cambodia that had a story to tell, Somaly Mam. Looking into her story I found her extraordinary foundation that focuses on “eradicating the root of human trafficking, exemplifying a global vision and dedication that will allow its work in the United States and South East Asia to expand to other countries around the world.” That is a lot of big words and a lot to take on for one small group.
What touched me about this foundation was that they are not putting a Band-Aid on the problem, but looking into the “root causes” to come up with the correct solutions to stop this problem. Project Futures is a fundraising arm out of Australia that has put together an innovative campaign that is exciting, collaborative, and is as equally focused on education and awareness as it is on fundraising. They are not simply after a donation; they want the voice of a concerned populous.
The subject of sex trafficking, news stories, movies, and numerous non-profits, have been getting information out about a problem of crimes against women through sex-slavery and trafficking.
Schoolgirls are coerced into sexual slavery by pimps posing as caring boyfriends. Women and children are sold to brothels, and threatened with violence or death if they try to escape.
This is 21st century slavery.
Human trafficking is perpetrated in every country, rich or poor. It is the second largest, fastest growing organized crime in the world. Anti-slavery advocacy group Not For Sale estimates that there are over 30 million people toiling as modern day slaves around the globe today, more than any other period in human history.
The Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) is working to end these atrocities through direct services for victims, survivor-driven advocacy, strategic multidisciplinary partnerships, and mass media and online platforms. Somaly Mam, a survivor and present-day activist, speaks at conferences, summits and universities worldwide to share her story and address her solution: empowering survivors as the next generation of change-makers.
This global crisis necessitates a global response.
The organization partners with companies and grassroots activists all around the world who are doing their part to say no more to the trafficking of human beings and the exploitation of women and children.
Together, are committed to building a world free from slavery: a reality that we truly believe is possible in our lifetime.
We need to do something, right? It does not go away by looking the other way.