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.

Fortune's Most Powerful Women
Fortune's Most Powerful Women For the latest on the most influential women in business, philanthropy, government, and the arts, like us on Facebook.
Guest Posts
Fortune Most Powerful Women Fortune Most Powerful Women The rolodex that redefined power
Profile in The Washington Post
Sheryl Sandberg: Sheryl Sandberg: Don't leave before you leave
COO of Facebook
Wendy Clark Wendy Clark Exec learns firsthand how the homeless live
SVP of the Global Sparkling Brand Center at Coca-Cola
Marissa Mayer's 3 biggest decisions as Yahoo CEO With company stock up over 100% since she began running the company 16 months ago, Mayer reflects on her choices to date. Watch
Chelsea Clinton on running for office: 'I don't know' The vice chairman of the Clinton Foundation talks about her diverse career path and growing up in the spotlight. Watch
MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

Read more

Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by VIP.