Former sex slave wins 2009 Freedom Award


By Jade Mak, The Phnom Penh Post 

091016_04SEX slave-turned-activist Sina Vann received the Frederick Douglass Award at the 2009 Freedom Awards in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Awarded to those who have survived a form of slavery and are actively helping the lives of others, the Frederick Douglass Award provides US$10,000 to help facilitate current work and another $10,000 as a personal reward.

A native of Vietnam, Sina Vann, 25, was kidnapped at the age of 13 and brought to Cambodia to work as a sex slave at a brothel.

Raped by 20 to 30 men daily and beaten if she hesitated to serve customers, Sina Vann was finally freed at the age of 16 after a police raid.

After being rehabilitated at a rescue shelter, she has since been working for the Somaly Mam Foundation as the leader of the Voice for Change initiative, an outreach program for sex slaves.

“We are happy that people not only see people like Sina as a victim but as an activist. This award shows that people understand her [positive] role in society,” said Lin Sylor, a spokesperson for the Somaly Mam Foundation office in Cambodia.

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