From Trauma to Triumph:
How one woman’s journey inspired a movement from Cambodia to the coast.
Free To Shine and Project Futures are proud to bring activists and survivors of sexual slavery Somaly Mam and Sina Vann centre-stage for this deeply personal conversation that has been the catalyst for a world-wide movement.
- Discover the innovative strategies these charities are using to create new futures for at risk children in Cambodia, directly from the founders, Nicky Mih and Clare Pearson.
- Hear sexual slavery survivors Somaly Mam and Sina Vann share their experiences in working with over 7000 at-risk women in their quest to eradicate modern slavery.
- Ask questions and explore how you can contribute to the momentum of these ground-breaking projects.
Somaly Mam was sold into slavery at the age of 12. Forced to work in a brothel for nearly a decade, she was brutally tortured and raped on a daily basis. After escaping the industry with the help of a foreigner, she went on to establish safe houses for women and girls escaping situations of sexual slavery and exploitation. For over 20 years, she has provided 7,000 survivors with safe housing, psychological support, medical treatment, legal assistance, education and training through her organisation, AFESIP.
Somaly has been recognised as:
• a CNN Hero
• One of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People • One of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women • Recipient of the World Children’s Prize; and
• Glamour Woman of the Year
She has spoken on numerous US talk shows, conferences, international summits, media and fundraising events and is a compelling speaker.
Sina Vann was born in Vietnam, abducted and trafficked to Cambodia where she was sold to a brothel and forced to service up to 20-30 clients a day. If she refused, she would be tortured with chilli and locked in a dark, underground room without food. She escaped after 4 years.
Sina showed a natural affinity for leadership and began supporting other girls at the centre to overcome their fears through shared experience. Within 12 months, she began training as a social outreach worker and has been employed by AFESIP since 1998.
Nicky Mih & Free To Shine
As the co-founder and MD of Australian charity Free To Shine, Nicky leads a team of social workers and education officers who work with girls to secure their safety and achieve their rights to be free from slavery, access education, safe drinking water, enough food and adequate shelter. Nicky and her team work closely with police, community leaders, councils and schools in South East Asia.
After reading Somaly’s book, The Road of Lost Innocence, Nicky spent a month with survivors in one of Somaly’s safe houses, preparing a Life Skills Curriculum so they wouldn’t be re-trafficked upon joining their families. Over the last eight years, they have kept more than 700 girls across 49 rural villages safe.
“I saw terror in the eyes of girls who had just been rescued, I met survivors who had been tortured who were rebuilding their lives, and one young girl who was just 6 years old – she was sold when she was 4! It changed me. It taught me that you can love in an instant. It taught me what real strength was. And it taught me to spend my time doing something that really mattered.” -Nicky Mih
Clare Pearson & Project Futures
Project Futures has actively supported the work of AFESIP in Cambodia since 2009 and Clare offers vast and valuable experience in executing innovative programs in the areas of child protection, early intervention and education.
“Our mission is to offer a beam of hope for victims, restoring their voices and creating opportunities for brighter, more independent futures. Ultimately, this can only be achieved with a united stance and determination to eradicate the crimes of human trafficking”. -Clare Pearson
In addition to the wonderful women above, we are also thrilled to announce that Local Member for Noosa, Sandy Bolton, will be our gracious MC for the evening. This event is in celebration of International Women’s Day and welcomes both men and women. Together we are creating a different future.