Born to a tribal minority family in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia, Somaly Mam began life in extreme poverty. A man who posed as her grandfather sold Somaly into sexual slavery. Forced to work in a brothel along with other children, Somaly was brutally tortured and raped on a daily basis. Somaly heroically escaped her captors and set about building a new life for herself. She vowed never to forget those left behind and has since dedicated her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.
With the launch of The Somaly Mam Foundation in 2007, Somaly has established a funding vehicle to support anti-trafficking organizations and to provide victims and survivors with a platform from which their voices can be heard around the world.
For her tireless efforts, Somaly has justifiably garnered world-wide respect and is now a renowned leader at the forefront of the anti-trafficking struggle. Universally recognized as a visionary for her courage, dignity, ingenuity, and resilience, Somaly was honored as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2009 and was featured as a CNN Hero. She is also the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, The World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC), Glamour Magazine's 2006 Woman of the Year Award, and has won accolades from the US Department of Homeland Security.