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Somaly Mam's Resignation
May 28th, 2014
It has been an incredibly difficult few months for all of us at the Foundation, and for all of our supporters.
In March, the Foundation retained the law firm Goodwin Procter LLP to conduct an independent, third party investigation into allegations concerning the personal history of Somaly Mam and Somana (Long Pros). The Foundation provided Goodwin Procter unfettered access to our information, documents, and staff, and, for the past two months, a team of Goodwin Procter legal professionals based out of Boston, San Francisco, and Hong Kong conducted an extensive investigation.
As a result of Goodwin Procterâ€™s efforts, we have accepted Somalyâ€™s resignation effective immediately. In addition, we are permanently removing Ms. Pros from any affiliation with the organization or our grant partner, but will help her to transition into the next phase of her life. While we are extremely saddened by this news, we remain grateful to Somalyâ€™s work over the past two decades and for helping to build a foundation that has served thousands of women and girls, and has raised critical awareness of the nearly 21 million individuals who are currently enslaved today.
Despite our heartfelt disappointment, the work of the Foundation and our grant partners must and will carry on. We have touched the lives of over 100,000 women and girls. We have treated nearly 6,000 individuals at a free medical clinic in Phnom Penhâ€™s red light district and engaged nearly 6,400 students in anti-trafficking activism.
We look forward to moving past these events and focusing all of our energies on this vital work, ensuring that the hundreds of women and girls that are currently being served in our grant partner AFESIPâ€™s three centers for recovery and rehabilitation, receive the care that they so desperately need, and that we safeguard their identities and privacy to every extent possible.
Our work changes lives and we remain dedicated to it. Over the coming weeks, we will outline a plan that will be made available as to the revised course for the Foundation.
We don't expect this transition to be simple, but we ask that you stand with us in the face of these serious challenges and help us to honor all victims and survivors, and the millions of women and girls who are enslaved across the globe.
Somaly Mam Foundation
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Will a local paper reprint the Time article?
Would an audit result in restitution?
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The El Mundo piece? Link? I've googled and a lot came up. I'm not sure what piece you're referring to. I'm really interested to read it. Thanks in advance.JBTrain wrote:If allegations regarding her cover up of abuse at her Siem Reap facility (raised by Simon in the El Mundo piece) go uninvestigated I'd say she's getting off easy.
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Thanks, JBtrain!JBTrain wrote:In Spanish, Google Translate :
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http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2013/11/1 ... b4578.html
"The Cambodian heroine invented his own life
A journalist travels to the village to unmask the Prince of Asturias
THE GRANDFATHER: Nobody remembers the person who sold the virginity of Somaly Mam
EDUCATION: He finished graduate. She says she could not study to be enslaved
PROSTITUTION: According to her ex-husband met while serving prostitution freely
SIMON MARKS Thlok Chhrov (Cambodia)
Updated: 10/11/2013 1:13 pm
In his memoirs Silence of Innocence (2005), Somaly Mam tells the devastating story of how he was born in the 70s at a remote point in Mondulkiri province, northeast Cambodia, and then was sold to a brothel owner in Phnom Penh when he was a minor. The book describes how at the age of "nine or ten" it over to a man he knew only by the name of Grandpa.
The man then sold her virginity to a Chinese merchant who owed him money. Subsequently, over to a woman named Aunt Nop, sometime after his fifteenth birthday time. According Mam, never finished school and had to endure years trapped in a brothel, where she was forced to have sex with clients, made up with a thick layer of white polvorete. "As geishas" recalls the book.
Mam memories have led to become one of the leading activists in the fight to eradicate trafficking and sexual exploitation of young women in the world. Since the publication of his book, Time magazine has named one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks in the U.S. and has more than 400,000 followers on the social network Twitter.
It has also forged close ties with Queen Sofia of Spain, who earlier this year visited her in the hospital, and actress Susan Sarandon. Both have become loyal advocates for his work as president of the Cambodian organization Action for Women in Distressing Situations (Afesip) and leader of the Somaly Mam (SMF) Foundation in New York, which collects millions of dollars in grants each year.
All have been praise for the journey from slavery to Mam philanthropic stardom. However, the residents of the Thlok Chhrov-full of rice plantations on the banks of the Mekong River where Mam lived his childhood dusty town-tell a very different story to the one described in the memoirs of the activist.
In interviews over the past two years, along a thorough investigation on the activities of Somaly Mam, local officials, teachers and former classmates still living in the village have offered details sow more doubt on the veracity history contained in his book. His own story.
Nareth Sam, 48, who has lived in the village of Thlok Chhrov since the fall of the Khmer Rouge (1979), says that he saw Somaly came to town in 1981 with Mam Khon Pen and Navy, the two people described in his book as his adoptive parents. In the memoirs, Mam explains that met in Thlok Chhrov after Grandpa take her there and put it to work as a domestic slave.
Nareth says he never saw Somaly living with a figure like Grandpa in town. It also ensures that Somaly and her family arrived at Thlok Chhrov from another village called Thnort, located on the other bank of the river. "Mam Khon Pen Navy and his wife, with their children, including Somaly came to the commune in 1981 and Khchao Mam Khon taught here," he said from his spacious Nareth wooden house near the place where, according to her, Somaly lived with his family in his childhood.
He finished high school
Also, remember that Mam Nareth started going to school in the village in 1981 and remained there until 1987, when he obtained his high school diploma. "She finished high school in 1987," says Nareth. "Somaly and I went together to make the examination of teacher training together in Kompong Cham. We were in different classes, but in September 1987 we went together for this exam. "
In his memoirs, Mam says she had to leave school early because of a forced marriage arranged for her Grandfather at age 14. A statement that is contradicted by the testimony of Sam Nareth.
And not just yours. Thou I am, 68 years, from 1981 to 2005 was the director of the secondary school in the village of Khchao Thlok Chhrov also ensures that witnessed Mam attended classes between 1981 and 1987. Same hold the head of the municipality, Thorng Ruon, and his two predecessors. "I know Somaly finished high school and earned a diploma in 1986-1987 school year," says Thoy am.
I also explained that Mam Khon had left the province of Kompong Cham, east of Cambodia in the mid 60s. Having completed his training as a teacher, he taught in the northeast of the country under an initiative introduced by the former king, Norodom Sihanouk to send specialists learning remote parts of the country. "Khon told me came from Mondulkiri province after the end of the Khmer Rouge," says Thou'm in his small house in Kompong Cham, referring to the same state in which Somaly Mam says began as a semi-wild girl, abandoned by their parents.
Neighbors say they had problems with their adoptive parents and fled
Moeun Chea, who was chief of the commune of Khchao between 1985 and 1990, also said he saw Somaly Mam reach the area of â€‹â€‹child with his family. "I know Mam Khon woman and her children came to live here from Russei Srok commune," he said, referring to a nearby commune of the same province. "I believe that is true Somaly Mam Khon daughter, like all the neighbors knew it was his daughter," he continued.
Neighbors say Thlok Chhrov relationship with Somaly Mam Khon Pen Navy and his wife deteriorated when the girl left home. They say Somaly had fights with his adoptive parents. They told neighbors after 1987 that Mam had left the family home.
"When Mam was submitted for consideration of teacher, it seems that he was behaving badly and that the parents were angry and blamed him," says Nareth, the neighbor who says she went to the examination in September 1987. " Then he ran away from home. At that time, parents announced they had severed all ties with her. "
Moeun, the former head of the commune of Kchao, also confirmed that he had heard that Somaly Mam ran away from home. "Believe me, that daughter did not respect their parents," he said. "Parents blamed, she got angry and left home."
Somaly Mam denies that any details of his memoirs has been invented. "Strongly stand by the story of my life told in my book, I consider my memories of an incredibly isolated and frightening childhood," Mam said in an email, after I talked about what the residents of his village said about his childhood. "As a survivor of rape and white slavery at a very young age, I find it very painful to talk about my traumatic past and I am sorry that anyone to doubt my personal experiences so long ago."
In another statement, the Somaly Mam (SMF) Foundation said that his memories have played a crucial role in giving Mam platform he needed to defend the rights of women in the global scene: "The story of Somaly Mam Told in Silence of innocence, exposed hundreds of thousands of people to the atrocities of women trafficking industry in Cambodia, "said SMF. "The success of the book became one of the leading activists in the cause, which has fought with courage and passion for 20 years. We are avid supporters of Somaly and her work. Our focus is not his life as a child, but the lives of the young people she and her team saved in Cambodia yesterday, today and save tomorrow. "
But not all young people it claims to have saved Somaly told the whole truth about their lives as they promoted the work of the Somaly Foundation
Meas Ratha, 32, revealed last month, a teenager, was chosen by Somaly Mam to appear on a television France 2 in 1998, after participating in trials with other girls, to ensure falsely sold it to the owner a brothel in Phnom Pehn. Somaly documentary that propelled to fame and helped cement the recognition that led to winning the Prince of Asturias Cooperation in June 1998, under the gaze of Queen Sofia.
Somaly Mam owes much of its fame to the shocking stories of girls and Ratha, who have transmitted their brutal evidence of sexual slavery audiences for fame and money for the Foundation. But the story of Ratha is just the latest incident of perjury arising from organizations Somaly Mam.
Last year, Mam finally admitted, after being subjected to intense public scrutiny, had told lies in a speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. It said that eight girls were rescued from the sex industry were he murdered by the Cambodian army after raiding a shelter in your organization. Indeed, the slaughter never happened.
He lied about his daughter
The dome of the Police and the former husband of Somaly Mam also denied testimony last year that her daughter was kidnapped by traffickers of women in 2006, when he was 14. Somaly said the traffickers had recorded while his daughter was gang raped in retaliation for his work with victims of sexual industry. Police said they were surprised by these charges, while the former partner of Mam reported that the story was a publicity stunt to raise money for your organization.
Other research conducted by my newspaper, The Cambodia Daily, also uncovered that Long Pros, another of the most famous victims of the Somaly Mam Foundation, had also invented his chilling story about his mutilation at the hands of the owner of a brothel. In numerous interviews and documentary in prime time on PBS in the U.S., said the had Pros teenager imprisoned in a brothel in Phnom Penh, where she was held as a sex slave and tore an eye with a knife for refusing to have sex with customers.
However, medical records, interviews with parents of Pros and his eye surgeon, showed that in fact they removed the eye in a hospital because of a tumor that developed in childhood, as published on this supplement the Sunday. Pros parents said they sent directly to your home organization in Phnom Pehn Somaly Man to have a good education, but spend no time in a brothel.
The silence of innocence first published in French in 2005. Thion I wrote Serge, a French sociologist who had been sanctioned in 2000 for his revisionist activities and for denying the Holocaust. Asked by email about the veracity of the biography Mam, replied that he had no reason to question it. "What is certain is that my friend is a long time, about 20 years, I reckon," he says.
"By reading the French version of his biography, I found no anomalies" Thion added. "Reading the American version, I found deep distortions because the story is wrapped in a racist point of view and written in a language that is unfamiliar in Cambodia. Now, his public image is professionally manufactured in the United States. I think it is a bad decision ... But I can say that every detail [of the book] Somaly told me. And I have no reason to doubt them. "
The English text was published in 2007, after being translated from French by Lisa Appignanesi writer. "Everything I know about Somaly Mam was included in the book Le Silence de l'innocence, I translated the French" replicates Thion words. "I made no further investigation or added anything. I have translated many books from French, so I can say is that if there are "profound distortions" and were in the original. "
The idea of â€‹â€‹a book about the life of Mam came from her husband Pierre Legros, who separated from her in 2004 and was part of the original team that set up the NGO Afesip in 1996. Interview, Legros said he got the idea in 2001 when Afesip beginning to attract more public attention.
"I spoke to Serge [Thion] and we said okay, we will set Somaly in the geopolitical context of the Vietnam War," he explains. "He understood very well. She was born in 1970, in the term of President Lon Nol, when Cambodia began its descent into hell and the Vietnam War and the American invasion had occurred. Somaly lived the period of the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese invasion. All these stories the affected her. "
Cross-examined about his role in the plot of the book, Legros says: "Of course I played a role. But the question of whether people believe me or not to me. I would never have published a book. I would never have written a book for marketing. He had a political vision. As Somaly husband, I do not care marketing. I wanted to bet on the long term and in politics, with an explanation about the trafficking of women in Southeast Asia. "
Volunteer at the brothel
Pierre Legros met Somaly Mam in 1991 under conditions that disprove his story of sex trafficking. There was a marginal brothel, but a bar open to the public media clientele operating legally, near the luxurious Le Royal in Phnom Penh. According to her ex-husband was not there required, but working as a prostitute with his consent.
"I was 18 or 19 years and no one was forcing her to be there," recalls Legros to Chronicle. "We fell in love and started dating. Then I took her to live in France with me. " [The two returned to Cambodia in 1994].
The French aid, with over two decades of experience in sex trafficking, says it does not have details about life before I met Somaly. However, he says that his history of slavery did not match the profile of the Cambodian heroine. "There are contradictions and exaggerations," says his ex-wife. "There are doubts about coming from the place that says and has no family."
Whatever the truth, the story spreads Somaly Mam public is far from clear. Taking the podium at the White House in February last year, Mam was released direct to recount the story told so many times in the past decade.
"Now I know that after my childhood I was sold to a brothel when she was nine or 10 years," he told an audience of high level, including close associates of Barack Obama, including Rajiv Shah, administrator of the Agency for International Development United States . "After I sold to a brothel when she was nine or 10 years, I was there over 10 years. I escaped in 1990 and then I was able to find the foundation to help girls and victims on the ground. "
In 2008, Mam appeared on the Tyra Banks in the U.S. alongside Susan Sarandon. In an interview with Banks, she gave a very different story about the age at which they sold to a brothel.
- How old were you when you think sold to a brothel, asked Banks.
Thirteen-or fourteen-, Somaly Mam said.
With information from David Jimenez
He will stay with the Prince of Asturias
After the two parts of "Chronicle" on the lies of Somaly, this supplement has asked the Prince of Asturias Foundation itself arises take the award for International Cooperation granted in 1998. Though there was no official response, yes it is submitted the "general principles" of the award, which make clear that Mam will keep the prize and its funding: five million pesetas to be distributed among the seven laureates that year (714,285 pesetas). "The decisions of each juror occur in view of the information available each year and for each candidate, when issuing its opinion," says the regulations. "It is impossible for the jury to rule on facts that have occurred or are at least known when issuing its opinion." Not the only time I received money from Spain: NGO Anesvad gave more than a million euros between 2001 and 2006, while the Spanish International Cooperation Agency provided 1.8 million between 2003 and 2008."
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