Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Road to Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

About the book: (from the author's site)
"A riveting, raw, and beautiful memoir of tragedy and hope."

Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia. Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking - rape, torture, and deprivation - until she managed to escape with the help of a French aid worker. Emboldened by her newfound freedom, education, and security, Somaly blossomed but remained haunted by the girls in the brothels she left behind.

Written in exquisite, spare, unflinching prose, The Road of Lost Innocence recounts the experiences of her early life and tells the story of her awakening as an activist and her harrowing and brave fight against the powerful and corrupt forces that steal the lives of these girls. She has orchestrated raids on brothels and rescued sex workers, some as young as five and six; she has built shelters, started schools, and founded an organization that has so far saved more than four thousand women and children in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Her memoir will leave you awestruck by her tenacity and courage and will renew your faith in the power of an individual to bring about change.


“My story isn’t important. The point is not what happened to me. I write my story to shed light on the lives of so many thousands of other women. They have no voice, so let this one life stand for their stories.” (p. 189)

Somaly Mam’s story, The Road to Lost Innocence, is the most disturbing, heartbreaking story I’ve ever read. One author, Ayaan Hirsi, in her endorsement, calls the book “unputdownable.” She is right. Somaly Mam is a woman who has endured unimaginable horrors, yet she has poured herself out on behalf of others for a cause much larger and more terrifying than words can express. Truly, there is no depth to human depravity!

I admire this woman for her bravery. I admire her selfless devotion to those young lives she has attempted and succeeded to rescue from sexual slavery. Truly, her life is an example for us to emulate and support. Her book, The Road to Lost Innocence, is testimony to the strength and determination of one woman’s spirit and the amazing difference one dream can make in the lives of thousands! Oh that there were more people like Somaly Mam!!

However, as a Christian, I am moved, convicted, called to share Christ with people like Somaly Mam. In a way, she is still enslaved because her good works will never be enough to atone for her soul. That breaks my heart. I will pray for the gospel to be brought into the hearts and lives of the great work being done by AFESIP and the Somaly Mam foundation. I pray that they will continue to rescue lives and begin to rescue their souls.

“The word for prostitute in Cambodia is srey kouc, “broken woman” – broken in a way that cannot be mended. You are forever ruined and your existence shames the family.” (p. 47) Jesus Christ alone can heal the brokenness not only of the women and girls sold into prostitution, but the parents and grandparents who sell them into this slavery. May God have mercy on the people of Cambodia and send great revival to their country!

Part of the purchase price of each book goes toward supporting the Somaly Mam foundation. Please, purchase a copy here today, and then pray and ask God what you can do to help these women and children.

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