The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

Type: auto-biography

Page Count: 193

Received by: Kat

Started reading: 23 January 2011

Finished reading: 24 January 2011

Interest level: 10 – This was the book I’ve been needing to read.  Because it’s a survivor’s story of living through and escaping years of sexual slavery when she was in her teens.  This is my life calling, although I’ve been feeling terribly lost and helpless in doing anything proactive (what with being here in Korea).  It is impossible to read this book and then feel like you can’t/won’t/aren’t able to do SOMETHING.

Ease of read: 6 – It is HARD to read some of the things she writes.

The cuts and welts we see on escaped prostitues these days are unbelievable.  The clients do it, or the pimps.  Maybe it’s the influence of Chinese films, which are full of torture scenes.  The pimps watch them avidly, like a lot of other men do.

Nowadays the girls are much younger too.  This is because men in Cambodia will pay a thousand dollars to rape a virgin for a week – it’s always a week, for a virgin.  Sex with a virgin is supposed to give strength, to lengthen a man’s life span and even lighten his skin.

To make it clear they offer true, bona fide virgins, the brothels today sell children.  Often they are very young girls, just five or six years old.  After the week is over, they sew the girl inside – without an anesthetic – and quickly sell her again.  A virgin is supposed to scream and bleed, and this way the girl will scream and bleed, again and again.  They do it maybe three or four times.  (59-60)

Life changer: 10 – You can’t read this and not be changed.

To me, few people are lower than the men who use prostitues.  They pay to rape women, teenagers, and little girls.  They use violence – they hit, slap, and bite, like in the porn videos that are on sale everywhere.  It excites them to use power and to see pain.  Although some clients pretend to believe that they are somehow doing the girls a favor, the reality is violence and rape.  I spent a lot of time thinking about why, in Cambodia, people felt justified in treating women and children this way.

How do you become somebody who can be so careless about other people? (151)

Recommendation level: 10 – Every human needs to read this book, because this is the most atrocious thing that could happen to other humans.  Americans almost always jump to the Holocaust as the worst thing in modern history that humans have done to one another, and I guess it’s because they don’t know this is happening.  Even in their own state, children are sold. Even American kids are being seduced, lured, coerced, then beaten, drugged, and forced into selling their bodies.  All you have to do is type in variations of “human trafficking” or “child slavery” into Google and you’ll never look out your window or be able to travel the world the same way again.

The memories that torment me most are those of rape and the stink of sperm.  In brothels, they don’t bother changing sheets much.  The smell of sperm is everywhere.  It’s insufferable.  Even today, I often have the sense that I’m breathing in the smell of the whorehouses.  The customers were dirty.  They never showered. (186)

TTBR Synopsis: A Cambodian girl is orphaned, sold into slavery, raped, sold, raped, soldrapedsoldrapedsoldraped.  She escapes and now works at helping other children escape the same fate.  This book will haunt you, and that’s a good thing.  Because then you’ll make sure other people know.  If you care about human life, go buy this book (on Amazon, Alex), read it, and then pass it on to someone, and make sure they pass it on to someone, too.

Bonus Information: Ending modern day slavery and child slavery is an enormous task – sometimes it seems impossible.  There are more slaves today than during the African slave trade, but they are hidden away so well that nobody knows or cares enough to do anything about it.  Here are some of my favorite links with some of the best information about the problem.  Do something – please.   As long as people are ignorant, little girls and boys will continue to be sold and raped over and over, every day of their life until they die of AIDS or other diseases.  We have the power to end this, if we don’t stop fighting for it.