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2011 Somaly Mam
Foundation Gala
Espace, NYC.
635 West 42 Street
October 20, 2011

Written by Janet Perisa

Photos Courtesy of
The Somaly Mam Foundation


Opposite Photo:
Somaly Mam and
Annalynne McCord

No other advocate has been more vocal, or effective in the campaign to end human trafficking than Somaly Mam. Mam knows first-hand the suffering of these innocent children because she was forced to be a sexual slave when she was a young girl. She escaped and recovered and in 2007 formed the Somaly Mam Foundation to build schools and rescue other young girls who were forced to become sexual slaves.

On October 20th, the Somaly Mam Foundation, held a benefit dinner at tony Espace in Times Square in support of victims, and to honor The Body Shop Americas, Russell Simmons of Rush Communications and Melanne Verveer, the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues U.S. Department of State. The gala began with an introduction by the master of ceremonies, Somaly Mam Foundation Executive Director Bill Livermore. Livermore and Mam, presented Ambassador Melanne Verveer with The Voices of Change Ambassador Award.

One of the more emotional events of the evening was when sisters Hok Sokleang and Chea Lingya—survivors of the trafficking trade—bravely shared their personal accounts of the terror and exploitation they had experienced. They thanked
The Somaly Mam Foundation for bringing them the hope and strength to create happy and successful futures.

Petra Nemacova and Russell Simmons

Later that evening, actress Annalynne McCord introduced Phil Kowalczyk, President of The Body Shop Americas, who was presented with an award for The Body Shop's campaign to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People. Model/philanthropist, Petra Nemcova—who serves on the SMF’s Global Advisory Board—presented Russell Simmons with the The Voices of Change award for his work as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Permanent Memorial To Honor The Victims of Slavery and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Susan Sarandon, Somaly Mam and Padma Lakshmi

Co-Chairs for the Gala included: Lauren Bush, Deepak Chopra, Kerry Girvin, Bianca Mead, Andy and Laura Heery Prozes, Susan Sarandon and Shelley Simmons.

Other notable guests included Padma Lakshmi, Ron Livingston, Melanne Verveer, actress/activist, Susan Sarandon, Her Excellency Hun Kimleng, and Ambassador Luis C de Baca, the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the State Department.

Chloe Flower Performs

The event raised $549,450 for foundation. For more information on the Somaly Mama Foundation, and to pledge your support, Log on to:

Here is some more information from the press release from Jonathon Marder + Associates:

The Humanitarian Auction (Fund-A-Need), allowed the Somaly Mam Foundation to provide the following for shelters in Southeast Asia. Here are the level of support:

• $10,000 WILL SUPPORT FEED A SHELTER: provide two month’s worth of fresh water, rice, and nutritious meals for 70 girls staying at a shelter in Southeast Asia. Or SHELTER TRAINING AND SUPPORT: pays for infrastructure and supports costs involved with training survivors for one shelter for four months. This donation covers workshop staff capacity building, sewing equipment and materials, hairdressing equipment and materials, agriculture business supplies, business management courses, computer and life skill training, maintenance and repair of training equipment, field visits for survivors to associated shelters, and more.

• $5,000 WILL SUPPORT SCHOLARSHIP FOR A YOUNG SURVIVOR: provides an academic scholarship to four survivors in Southeast Asia for an entire year. The scholarship provides entrance fees, books, materials and a living stipend. Through an education a survivor is empowered to build a new life and career, enabling her to support herself and play an active role in the local economy.

• $1,000 WILL SUPPORT TECHNOLOGY: pays for six months worth of technology needs for three shelters. The funds will be used for computers at the centers in Cambodia and the dedicated staff to operate them as well as provide Internet service. (Internet access provides a host of necessary administrative and educational tools for both the survivors and the shelter staff.)

• $100 WILL SUPPORT START A BUSINESS, REBUILD A LIFE: provides a survivor with essentials she needs to start her own business, including supplies and materials.

About The 2011 Gala’s Honorees:

About Phil Kowalczyk, The Body Shop Americas:

In August 2009 The Body Shop kicked off the campaign Sex Trafficking of Children & Young People that has reached more than 50 countries. The campaign is exceptional in scale for The Body Shop, but not in nature.

The Body Shop was created 35 years ago with a very specific vision by its exceptional founder, Dame Anita Roddick, who believed business could and should be a force for positive social change.

In September 2011, The Body Shop handed over seven million customer signatures to the United Nations Human Rights Council calling for greater action at a coordinated international level to tackle child sex trafficking. In response to The Body Shop campaign and petition, 15 countries have to date committed to legislation action. The Body Shop thanks the governments of Malta, Denmark, Portugal, South Africa, Malaysia, Norway, Switzerland, France, Romania, Taiwan, Ireland, Indonesia, Pakistan, New Zealand and The Philippines for committing to take action that will change countless lives for the better. The Body Shop US & Canada are proud partners of Somaly Mam and the Somaly Mam Foundation for their efforts in the rehabilitation of young girls in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and across the world, and for their dedication in bringing an end of child sex trafficking.

About Russell Simmons, Rush Communications, Inc.:

Forbes Magazine recently named Russell Simmons one of “Hollywood’s Most Influential Celebrities.” USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years,” calling him a “hip-hop pioneer” for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, the jewelry industry, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy. From creating his seminal Def Jam Recordings in 1984, to the 2007 publishing of his New York Times best seller “Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success,” Russell is recognized globally for his influence and entrepreneurial approach to both business and philanthropy.

Giving back is of primary importance to him in all aspects of life and as Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications; he has consistently leveraged his influence in the recording industry, fashion, television, financial services, and jewelry sectors to give back. A devoted yogi, Russell also leads the non-profit division of his empire, Rush Community Affairs, and its ongoing commitment to empowering at-risk youth through education, the arts, and social engagement. Russell also serves as UN Goodwill Ambassador For The Permanent Memorial To Honor The Victims Of Slavery and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

About Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-At-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State:

President Barack Obama appointed Melanne Verveer as Ambassador-at- Large for Global Women’s Issues. The President’s decision to create a position of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues is unprecedented, and reflects the elevated importance of these issues to the President and his entire Administration. In her capacity as director of the Department of State’s new office on Global Women’s Issues, Ambassador Verveer coordinates foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women around the world. She mobilizes concrete support for women’s rights and political and economic empowerment through initiatives and programs designed to increase women’s and girls’ access to education and health care, to combat violence against women and girls in all its forms, and to ensure that women’s rights are fully integrated with human rights in the development of U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Verveer most recently served as Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit she co-founded. Vital Voices invests in emerging women leaders and works to expand women’s roles in generating economic opportunity, promoting political participation, and safeguarding human rights. Prior to her work with Vital Voices, Ambassador Verveer served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Clinton Administration and was chief assistant to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in all her wide-ranging international activities to advance women’s rights and further social development, democracy and peace- building initiatives. She also led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women. Prior to her time in the White House, Ambassador Verveer served in a number of leadership roles in public policy organizations and as legislative staff.

Ambassador Verveer has a B.A. and M.A. from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and numerous other organizations.

About Chloe Flower:

Chloe Flower is a classically trained pianist currently working on her debut album, which fuses her own traditional arrangements with contemporary beats. Produced by the legendary Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Tim and Bob. This groundbreaking album marks an unprecedented collaboration between Chloe and her inspiration, Somaly Mam. The album is a journey of emotions separated by three acts, each opening with the moving words of Deepak Chopra.

Using the power of music, Chloe hopes to bring a much-needed awareness to the human trafficking epidemic. Strong and moving themes were carefully chosen to trigger specific emotions in the listener. Deepak Chopra’s opening words in each act guide the audience through a journey from innocence to suffering, then culminating with hope and healing. Chloe will be donating a portion of her album sales to The Somaly Mam Foundation in an effort to help end human trafficking.

Chloe has performed throughout the United States and abroad, and attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival with her late piano teacher, Herbert Stessin of The Juilliard School. She also has studied with Aaron Shorr at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In addition to piano, Chloe played the cello for ten years. She speaks four languages including Hindi, French, and Korean. She was recently accepted into the private studio of New York Philharmonic harpsichordist Lionel Party who is also a faculty member at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School.

“Chloe Flower is a very unique and extremely talented artist. She is poised to become a global superstar. Working with Chloe has inspired and taken me into a new musical world that is very exciting for me.” – Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds

For more information about Chloe and her touring schedule go to:

About The Somaly Mam Foundation:

The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit charity committed to ending modern day slavery in North America and around the world.

Human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry, is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. With over two million women and children sold into sexual slavery each year, it is a global crisis that must be stopped. More resources are critically needed to support the rescue and rehabilitation of these young victims.
Co-founded by sexual slavery survivor, Somaly Mam, the Foundation works to eradicate human trafficking, liberate its victims, and empower survivors so they can create and sustain lives of dignity. The Foundation supports survivor rescue, shelter, 0and rehabilitation programs globally with a special focus on Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and girls, some as young as five, is a widespread practice. The Somaly Mam Foundation also runs awareness and advocacy campaigns in North America and around the world that shed light on the crime of human trafficking and focus on getting the public and governments involved in the fight to abolish modern day slavery.

The Foundations Vision: A world where women and children are safe from slavery.

The Foundation’s Mission: To give victims and survivors a voice in their lives, liberate victims, end slavery, and empower survivors as they create and sustain lives of dignity.







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