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Press Conference to Launch
The Body Shop's
Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People Petition Campaign

Morgan Hotel Penthouse
July 30, 2010

Written by Wendy R. Williams
Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin

Opposite Photo:
Susan Sarandon, Somaly Mam, Katrina Bowdon



On Friday, July 30th, The Body Shop, ECPAT USA, and the Somaly Mam Foundation hosted a press conference at the Penthouse of the Morgan Hotel to launch the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People Petition, which launches online on the Body Shop website on Monday, August 2nd. The petition will also be available in The Body Shop stores starting Monday. The Body Shop is selling their "Soft Hands Kind Hearts" hand cream at a price of $7.00. $5.00 from each tube will be donated to ECPAT, a foundation dedicated to the fight to stop human trafficking, and to the Somaly Mam Foundation to support rehabilitation and support services in Cambodia. The Body Shop is also selling their bag for life, The Body Shop Bag, and part of the proceeds from the sale of these bags will also be donated to the foundations.

The Body Shop's Bag for Life

Somaly Mam and Susan Sarandon

Here is a quote from The Body Shop website about the campaign: "Human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world and it is thought that 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked every year for sexual exploitation and cheap labor. Inspired by our founder Anita Roddick and her commitment and passion for justice, The Body Shop is proud to continue her fight against human trafficking, bringing awareness of this modern-day slave trade to world leaders and the global community."

Somaly Mam and Shelley Simmons with
The Body Shop's
"Soft Hands Kind Hearts" Hand Cream

Shelley Simmons, director of brand and value initiatives for The Body Shop, greeted the crowd and spoke of the Body Shop's commitment to making the world a better place by operating a socially and environmentally responsible business with a commitment to the sustainable farming of the ingredients for their products. She also spoke of the passion that the founder Anita Roddick had to making the world a better place and how The Body Shop is continuing her commitment by supporting organizations such as ECPAT and the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Carol Smolenski, Founder and Executive Director of ECPAT-USA

Carol Smolenski, the founder and Executive Director of ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), spoke to the assemblage about ECPAT's campaign to end human trafficking. Smolenski said that by raising awareness, governments will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to crimes such as "sexual tourism." She also spoke about her organizations commitment to stopping the criminalization of exploited children in the United States. Sex trafficking is an ugly underground secret in the United States and when the pimps sell the sexual services of underage children and when these victims are found by the police, they (the victims) are arrested and charged in all but three states (New York, Connecticut and Washington State). This is an utter outrage that must not stand. ECPAT-USA campaigns for "Safe Harbor" laws to protect these victims from being arrested and prosecuted for prostitution.

Then it was time for Somaly Mam. Here is a quote from the press release form Jonathan Marder & Associates about Somaly Mam: "Somaly Mam herself was a victim of human trafficking. Forced to work in a brothel along with other children, Somaly was brutally tortured and raped on a daily basis. One night, she was made to watch as her best friend was viciously murdered. Fearing she would meet that same fate, 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."

Mam spoke of the children that are helped by her foundation. Mam had brought one of the children, a young girl whose eyes were attacked by a knife wielding pimp. The child has now had six surgeries to repair her eyes, but she has still lost 60% of her vision. Somaly also regaled the crowd when she talked about her friendship with Susan Sarandon and how she calls Susan to talk about her problems and sometimes arrives at her home with ten or twelve people. Somaly also had the crowd laughing when she stated that Susan was quite beautiful when she smiles. On a more poignant note, Mam spoke about how happy she was that the children in her foundation's homes had not had to do without food any day for the last two years. Mam's foundation has rescued over six thousand girls in Southeast Asia.

Somaly Mam then introduced her friend and supporter, Susan Sarandon. Sarandon also spoke of her passion to help these children and how she is very selective about which causes she embraces. Sarandon then told the crowd about her commitment to stop human trafficking and the lifetime harm trafficking creates in the lives of its victims. Sarandon also told the group that when Mam calls to talk about her problems helping her foundation's children, it helps to put whatever issues that might be bothering Sarandon that day into perspective.

Actress Katrina Bowden

The event was filled with journalists and photographers, every major outlet seemed to be represented. Also present was actress Katrina Bowden who came to lend her hand to the fight against Human Trafficking.

Somaly Mam and Susan Sarandon, Signing The Body Shop's
Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People Petition

To sign The Body Shop's Stop Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People Petition, click here.

For more information about ECPAT, click here.

For more information about Carol Smolenski, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of ECPAT, click here.

For more information about the Somaly Mam Foundation, click here.

For New York Cool coverage of a benefit for the Somaly Mam Foundation, click here.







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