Archives for July 2012

Half the Sky Hosts Twitter Chat with Somaly Mam on Modern-Day Slavery


Half the Sky is hosting a Twitter chat with Somaly Mam, and… You’re Invited! 

Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery at a very young age. She was raped and tortured on a daily basis, and even forced to watch her best friend being brutally murdered. Today, she is one of the world’s leading activists against sex trafficking and advocates for the victims and survivors of modern-day slavery. She has teamed up with Half the Sky for a Twitter chat. “It’s time for a 21st-century abolitionist movement,” says Nicholas Kristof, Half the Sky Co-Founder. 

What: Twitter Chat with ex-trafficking victim and survivor Somaly Mam, hosted by Half the Sky.

Why: Because 30 million people are trapped in human slavery today, more than any other time in history (via sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage… and that’s completely unacceptable!)

When: Wednesday, July 18th at 2:30PT / 5:30ET

Where: Twitter!

Tweet your Questions to: @SomalyMam and @Half using #endslavery

The Half the Sky Movement is about igniting the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls around the globe. It was inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”.

The Somaly Mam Foundation is a nonprofit charity committed to ending modern day slavery and empowering its survivors as part of the solution.“She vowed never to forget those left behind and has since dedicated her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.” Read her book, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine. 

“He Who Allows Oppression Shares the Crime” -Desiderius Erasmus

Join me on Twitter: @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Somaly Mam: From the Jungles of Cambodia Rises A Voice for the Voiceless

From the deep forests of Cambodia to street brothels–Somaly Mam’s “grandfather” sold her into sexual slavery at age 12 where she suffered unspeakable acts of brutality and witnessed horrors that would haunt her for the rest of her life.

Unable to forget the girls left behind after her escape, she became a tenacious and brave leader in the fight against human trafficking, rescuing sex workers–some as young as five and six–offering them shelter, rehabilitation, healing, love and leading them into a new life.  

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

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

Somaly has written about her own human trafficking story in the heartbreaking and hopefully heart awakening book titled, “The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine.”

Did you know that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry and the fastest growing criminial enterprise in the world?  If so, share how you are helping to raise awareness about human trafficking or working in some way to eradicate modern-day slavery.

Learn more on the Somaly Mam Foundation website and/or follow Somaly Mam on Twitter: @SomalyMam.

Buy the Book: The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine 

Join me on Twitter: @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Shadows in the Sun: A Book Celebrating Womanhood


It seems impossible that babies are still being killed in the womb, and even after birth, just because they are a specific gender, but it is a reality.  Female infanticide, or “gendercide” is still happening in the 21st century. It is the reason Bangladesh-born author, Rukhsana Hasib, decided to write the book, “Shadows in the Sun”.

From firsthand experience she writes, “Being from an Eastern culture, I am acutely aware of the abuses and oppression of women in Eastern societies, particularly among the poor. The birth of a daughter is still considered a misfortune by a vast number of people.” According to a 2011 report, 50,000 female fetuses are aborted every month in India alone. 

“It’s a reminder of how horrible life still is for many women and why we need to support one another and the freedom of all women to be full human beings” –Reader

In some cultures, the birth of a boy is widely celebrated, while the discovery that a mother is carrying a girl in her womb is not. In fact, it is cause for grave disappointment, shame and even murder. The mindset changes from carrying a baby, to a nameless, faceless, “it”.  A girl.  A thing to be discarded and destroyed, just because of the gender. Countless news reports tell harrowing stories of mothers who throw their baby daughters out of hospital rooms, into rivers, or onto garbage heaps.

While India has outlawed selective abortions of female fetuses, it has not stopped the crime. Females in many parts of the culture are still considered inferior to males, and gendercide continues. A 2012 article by The Economist: The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide states, “for millions of couples, the answer is: abort the daughter, try for a son.”  Worse still, research reveals the belief and practice is not limited to the poor and uneducated, and is found on almost every continent.

“This book will open up controversial discussions in many book clubs about the roles of women in society and the difficult choices they have to make to better the next generation of women” -Reader

Through the story of Shadows in the Sun, author Rukhsana Hasib adds her voice to the millions of women who have stood up and fought for women’s rights, “with the hope that eventually our collective voices will ring loudly enough to be heard in every corner of the world.”  

Many use “selective abortion” to get rid of female babies. Not just out of the womb, but out of the family structure, the society, and their place in the world, literally robbing them from their destiny. Rukhsana Hasib, along with advocates against gendercide look forward to the time when “the birth of a daughter is no longer considered a misfortune, as a mere shadow in the sun, but as valuable as the sun itself, which nurtured the earth like the mother who gave birth and sustained life.”

Long held belief systems are powerful, but not impossible to break through. As with any cultural shift, negatively embedded belief systems must first be dismantled in the mind. Life is a gift to be valued and honored, regardless of gender.

We need to protect, celebrate and empower the next generation of women. The more light that is shed on the issue of gendercide, the less room there will be for evil to propagate in the darkness. 

Author Biography

Rukhsana Hasib came to the United States in 1971, earned an MBA at Rutgers University, and went on to work as a commercial lending officer. She is the author of the novel Shackles of Time and a short story called Redemption of Red, which was published in an anthology of Diaspora writers, poets, and artists in 2011.

More Reading:

All Those Little Faces’: Elizabeth Vargas Explores India’s ‘Gendercide’  

In the third world, unwanted baby girls ‘disappear’. It’s called gendercide. And it’s happening in this country, too  

Follow Rukhsana on Twitter @rukhsanahasib, or on Facebook

Join me at @DestinysWomen on Twitter.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
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