Cambodia, 15 years
Nominated by AFESIP Cambodia
Issue: Child Abuse
I urge the government to convict child abusers seriously, because I believe that the serious prosecution of wrongdoers is a warning sign to prevent future crime.
Somaly lives in a village near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. At 14, she was raped and nearly killed by an older man. After prolonged hospital treatment, she went to the AFESIP children’s recovery center for further medical and psychological care. There, Somaly began to fight child abuse of all kinds. She became team leader of the leadership program for improving the lives of girls who have survived abuse. She has already supported around 100 young women and girls. She is a mentor and role model for the other girls, and works to break down barriers between other children in the community and girls who have suffered abuse. Thanks to her, community attitudes have changed, and victims no longer feel stigmatized. Somaly wants to lobby for reform of Cambodian law to ensure that children are protected from harm and abuse.