Somaly Mam's Hearts
and Hands Foundation is dedicated to helping former
Cambodian sex slaves - girls who have been forced
into prostitution, sometimes being sold by their
own families at ages as young as five.
Somaly Mam is a
former child sex worker who has had the courage
to turn her personal horror into a mission. She
has dedicated her life to saving the victims of
sex trafficking, creating homes where these victimized
young girls's lives can be rehabilitated and telling
her story to any and all who will listen.
And she has been
heard. On October 26, 2010, the Foundation hosted
its annual Gala at Capitale. The attendees were
treated to a traditional Cambodian Lotus dance
performed by a troupe of Somaly's girls. Some
of the girls spoke to the guests, one beautiful
young girl breaking hearts when she said, "I
was sold by my sister."
Somaly Mam and Susan Sarandon
Then actress and
Somaly friend Susan Sarandon introduced the 2010
honoree, Andy Prozes, the Chief Executive Officer
Group. Mr. Prozes has tirelessly supported
the Foundation ever since he met Somaly Mam several
years ago in Singapore. Prozes decided to help
and he certainly has. I was seated with some of
the Foundation's employees and they told me how
grateful they were for Mr. Prozes's support. He
is even supplying office space for the Foundation.
After dinner, Amy
Papola conducted an auction of the many glamorous
and fun gifts. So far the ticket sales and auction
items have raised over a half million dollars
for the foundation.
Singer John Wesley Harding performed a medley
of songs for the guests.
Somaly Mam, Cambodian
Performer, Lauren Bush and Ashley Bush
The NYC Gala Co-Chairs are:
Roland Berger, Lauren Bush, John Kluge, David
Lauren, Petra Nemcova, Laura Heery Prozes, Robert
Rigby-Hall, Susan Sarandon, and Joan F. Tobin.
NYC Gala Committee includes:
Patrick Alcindor, Maria Bello, Peter Davis, Sally
Field, Bryce Gruber, Francesca Hammerstein, Josie
Hines, Henry Z. Horbaczewski, Alice Kandell, Michael
Martin, Moises de la Renta, Jane Seymour, Ally
Sheedy, Tia Walker, Alexa Winner, Arden Wohl,
and Ulla Van Zeller.
Guests included: Ashley Bush, designer Cathy Hardwick,
John Kluge, David Lauren, actress and model Petra
Nemcova, actress Ally Sheedy, hip-hop mogul and
entrepreneur Russell Siimmons, Foundation president
Bill Livemore, designer Alexander Berardi, Ian
Tobin, Anne Watkins, Alexa Winner, Buck Fletcher,
Lorrie Britt, Bianca Mead, Janelle Korcheck, Tia
Walker, David Victor Rose, designer Gemma Kahng,
Deborah Zee, Michael Angelo, Liam McMullan, Aesha
Waks, Eric Lerner, Michael Lumpa, Jarred Greenberg,
Sylvie Chantecaille, Edward Lee Cave, and Bart
(Scroll down for party pictures),
Here is some information about
Somaly Mam from the press release from Jonathan
Marder + Associates: "About Somaly Mam: born
into a tribal minority family in the Mondulkiri
province of Cambodia, her life began in extreme
poverty. A man who posed as her grandfather sold
Somaly into sexual slavery. To this day, due to
the passing of time and the unreliability of a
wounded memory, Somaly still does not know who
this man was to her. Not sure of her birthday
she believes she was around twelve years old.
Forced to work in a brothel along with other children,
Somaly was brutally tortured and raped everyday.
One night, she was made to watch as her best friend
was viciously murdered. Fearing she would meet
that same fate, Somaly escaped. She vowed never
to forget those who she left behind and dedicated
her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.
In 1996, Somaly established
a Cambodian non-governmental organization called
AFESIP (Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Precaire).
Under Somaly's leadership, AFESIP employs a holistic
approach that ensures victims not only escape
their plight but they have the emotional and economic
strength to face the future with hope. 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.
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 has many awards over the last
decade: The Roland Berger Human Dignity Award,
the Prince of Asturias Award for International
Cooperation (which was given by Queen Sofia of
Spain), and 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."
|Lauren and Ashley Bush
with Combodian Performers
Ally Sheedy, Somaly Mam
and Susan Sarandon