Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Sheryl Sandberg's hero: Somaly Mam

November 15, 2011: 10:00 AM ET

Somaly Mam is a hero. Nick Kristof said so in his op-ed column in the New York Times this past weekend. Kristof raided a brothel in Northern Cambodia with this amazing woman who has become the guiding light in fighting forced prostitution around the world.

After escaping a similar brothel, where she was raped and tortured on a daily basis for years, Somaly Mam found her purpose. She devoted her life to fighting human trafficking, has saved 7,000 women and children from slavery, and has put her own life at risk countless times. Her biggest everyday concern is the 75 girls who live with her in her home, a haven.

"For me, dying is nothing," Mam told Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, one of her most ardent supporters, on stage at this year's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Sandberg framed the problem of human slavery in business terms: It is an estimated $32 billion industry. Imagine, in this era--human trafficking is reportedly the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world.

Sandberg's conversation with Mam drew a standing ovation from the MPW audience, some tears, and a flood of support to the tune of $45,000.

We're glad we could help in a small way. Watch this clip of Sandberg's interview with Mam, and if you too would like to help, go to the Somaly Mam Foundation here.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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