She was the world’s crusader against the trafficking of girls for sex in Cambodia, and she told an extraordinary personal tale: she was a village girl sold by a grandfatherly man into sex slavery.
Triumphant as well as beautiful, Somaly Mam won attention from Oprah Winfrey, a New York Times columnist, a PBS documentary, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009, and even CNN, which named her a “Hero” in 2007.
The fame — and her memoir “The Road of Lost Innocence” — generated millions of dollars for her Somaly Mam Foundation, fighting sex traffickers.
But her personal story wasn’t true, according to a Newsweek exposé this month.
In the wake of the magazine’s revelations, Mam resigned this week from her foundation, which had hired a law firm to independently investigate Mam’s background when questions arose. The law firm’s findings weren’t disclosed by the foundation.
Mam, whose book says she was born around 1970 or 1971, couldn’t be reached for comment, but the foundation still bearing her name issued a statement this week:
“As a result of (the law firm’s) efforts, we have accepted Somaly’s resignation effective immediately,” foundation executive director Gina Reiss-Wilchins said. “Despite the foundation’s heartfelt disappointment, we remain grateful to Somaly’s work …read more