Born in Cambodia, Mam rose to a height of being the CEO of Somaly Mam foundation-an anti-sex trafficking NGO. However, her life was soon to be followed by triumph after triumph of fabricated stories. Nevertheless, Abb Sher an award-winning author wholly believes that Mam played a significant role in helping young girls trapped in the sex trade. She tells the riveting stories of how Mam helped three survivors of sexual slavery. Abb Sher brings forth voiceless victims as well as the courageous girls who escaped the ordeal through Somaly Mam foundation. ‘Instead of running from her past, she chose to help those still caught in the system” Her stories titled “breaking free are in her book-Nook Book.
However, some individuals differ from Abb Sher view about Somaly Mam. Simon Marks had a different view which put Marie Claire against Newsweek. Newsweek defined Mam as a fraud who only cares about rising to global prominence and attracting media attention ('Mams Somley,12). In her autobiography, she talks about being sold to a brothel by her cruel ‘grandfather’ and later on being sold to a rich Chinese merchant. However, her autobiography contradicts information from her early acquaintances, the local official, and teacher. Simon Marks revealed that Orn Hok, a commune chief stressed "Somaly came here with her parents, Pen Navy and Mamkhon”. All her acquaintances and childhood friends deny having met her cruel grandfather ('Mams Somley,10'). Later on in 2012 during a media confrontation, she admits having given false allegation to a UN assembly.
With her storm sweeping harder and harder, Abigail Pesta an award-winning investigative journalist was silently investigating her allegation (Mam). At one point, Abigail is quoted saying ‘Someone ought to investigate the investigation and the truth of the so said sex captives. In Abigail words;” Mam looks great on public, but that is not the real Somaly Mam presented by the media”. Her close acquaintances, ex-husband and childhood friends differ on some statements she made. “As she rose to limelight following her documentary in 1998, Mam developed an unstoppable spirit (Mam,7).
This is stressed by one of her workers in 2011 who says, ”.they are very successful and they have been successful because they connect with the right people and they got all the movie stars, famous rock stars supporting her and all those people are being taken for a ride now”. The holy saint or sinner of sex trafficking? Her inconsistency in giving various statements plus her autobiography raises many questions to any keen observer. Secondly, her claim on April 3 that eight girls had been killed by Cambodian army was to later to cause a triumph. However, Abigail insists that Simon Marks gave a wrong presentation about Mam.
My view is that Mam had a noble but tinted course. I tend to believe the Newsweek since some statements about her daughter contradicts with her husband’s statement, but why believe the husband? Pierre Legros lives in Cambodia and also worked as an executive in Somaly Mam foundation. She later admits that her statement was inaccurate and that no girl was killed. Thirdly, on January 1998, she compelled Meas Ratha to give an on-camera false statement. Ratha later on said “the video that you see, everything that I put is not my story” The Cambodian daily later on points out that, Mam’s stories were false and that they neither reflects her childhood experiences nor her real life. Secondly, a UN representative in Cambodia disputes her claim about the murdered girls. Lastly, why did she run away from the limelight and resign? I know her as a fighter who fought for ten years in a brothel.Were the allegations too much? Certainly there some inconsistency in her statements which indicates one thing, she exaggerates some of her statements.
'Somley Problems'. 2014: n. pag. Print.
Mam, Somaly. The Road Of Lost Innocence. New York: Spiegel & Grau, (2013.) Pg 45-77.
Mam, Somaly, Ruth Marshall, and Mireille Vroege. Alleen Tegen De Wereld. Amsterdam: Arena, 2009. Print.